The ministry of Health will offer measles and rubella vaccine to over 1.3 million children between 5 and 9 years countrywide during the ongoing Health Week campaign.
The drive is part of the Integrated Governance and Family Promotion Campaign, and was launched on Wednesday by First Lady Jeannette Kagame in Kirehe District.
The two-month campaign is dedicated to a number of activities including: health awareness campaign, gender equality and reproductive health education programmes, in addition to governance and family promotion sensitisation.
Up to 1,391,451 children will be vaccinated while 1,559,455 others between six months and 5 years will also be given Vitamin A during the same campaign, according to Malick Kayumba, the head of the Health Communication Division at Rwanda Biomedical Centre.
Kayumba said that 4.5 million children aged between 12 months to 15 years will get deworming tablets.
Many children aged between 5 and 15 years will also get tablets to prevent them from diseases such as kidney failure, infertility, bladder cancer, among others.
According to the ministry, over 25,000 women will receive family planning services while breastfeeding mothers will be sensitised on the importance of breastfeeding their kids, especially during the first two years.
“Parents will be reminded of their role to talk to their teenage children about health reproduction to prevent early pregnancy as well as sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS,” Kayumba said.
The campaign will also focus on fighting malnutrition as well as providing training to parents on preparing nutritious foods for their kids.
Parents speak out
The parents who spoke to The New Times welcomed the campaign, saying it does not only help them have healthy children but also brings services closer to them.
“This campaign is an opportunity for parents to fulfill their responsibilities by having their kids vaccinated. I am happy that I will be able to have my baby vaccinated near home without taking her to the health centre which is a bit far from me,” said Vestine Uwamariya, a mother of three from Kirehe District.
“I am also happy that we will benefit from other programmes such as family planning and fighting malnutrition which will help us lead better lives with our children,” she added.