MEASLES OUTBREAK CLAIMS SEVEN LIVES: HEALTH MINISTRY

Supervising Permanent Secretary Health Improvement Dr Tenneth Dalipanda talking to the press while Dr Aaron Oritaimae looks on. Photo credit: SIBC.

Supervising Permanent Secretary Health Improvement Dr Tenneth Dalipanda talking to the press while Dr Aaron Oritaimae looks on. Photo credit: SIBC.

Health authorities have confirmed seven people have died in the country from measles-related complications, after a six months old baby in Western Province was the latest fatality.

A media statement from the Ministry of Health and Medical Services said according to the latest available data 3,802 suspected measles cases have been reported to the health Ministry.

It said cases are being reported from all 10 provinces, with increasing numbers of suspected cases being reported from Western, Malaita and Rennell-Bellona provinces.

A national measles vaccination campaign was launched on 25 September 2014 in response to the steady increase of cases in the country, aimed at vaccinating everyone aged six months to 30 years, excluding pregnant women.

The statement said the Health Ministry now focuses on supporting Provincial Emergency Operation Centres to roll out the measles campaign in their respective provinces.

Meanwhile, Supervising Permanent Secretary of Health, Dr Tenneth Dalipanda said the fight against measles is not over yet and there is no room for complacency.

He said measles is a serious disease that can cause death and disability and everyone living outside Honiara aged six months to 30 years must get a measles vaccine from the nearest health clinic, satellite site or mobile vaccination team.

Dr Dalipanda said, babies and young children are particularly at risk.

A total of 512,000 doses of measles-rubella vaccine has now arrived in the country, providing enough vaccines to cover everyone aged six months to 30 years in all provinces.

Dr Dalipanda adds, Mobile teams of nurses and health promotion officers are working hard to reach communities in all 10 provinces, saying that parents, teachers, chiefs, youth and church leaders must join the Health Ministry in helping to protect the health of our people and our children.

SIBC News understand, the Ministry of Health is working with the WHO, UNICEF, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, DFAT, and other partners to control the measles outbreak.

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