37.7 percent of state population covered under Measles vaccination campaign

By Our Reporter

 SHILLONG: About 37.7 percent of the state’s population has been covered under the Measles Catch Up Campaign which is being carried out to provide children between 9 months to 10 years of age with an additional dose of Measles vaccine, irrespective of previous vaccination status or disease history since October 10.

According the Nodal Officer, MCUP Dr MR Basaiawmoit, the Measles Catch Up Campaign is underway in 6 districts of Meghalaya (Ri-Bhoi has already been covered in March 2011). Three districts (East Khasi Hills, Jaintia Hills & West Khasi Hills) started the campaign on October 10. The other three districts of Garo Hills (East Garo, South Garo & West Garo) started the campaign from October 17.

“Our expected target is six lakhs sixty six thousand three hundred and sixty six children and at present we have managed to cover only two lakhs fifty eight thousand and nineteen children which accounts to 37.7 percent”, Dr Basaiawmoit said in a statement issued here on Monday.

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease that spreads through droplet infection (sneezing, coughing, etc.). The disease kills about lakhs of children annually in India which is 2/3rd of the total global deaths from Measles.

Many believe that the disease is harmless or even divine, being a visit from Gods. It is for this reason that the response to the vaccination drive has been weak in certain parts of the State, Dr Basaiawmoit said.

There are also rumors floating in some remote pockets that the vaccine would cause the devil’s number (666) to appear on the body of the child if given this vaccine, he added.

“We hope that the vaccine would be accepted widely so that at least 90-95% of the children are covered.

Only then, we would be able to reduce measles cases and deaths, which would help reduce infant mortality and childhood mortality in the State”, the nodal officer asserted.

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