Myanmar to immunize 6.4 million against measles

The Burmese Ministry of Health, in collaboration with the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization, have launched a measles vaccination campaign to reach 6.4 million under-five children nationwide.

“Such campaigns play a significant role in reducing global and national mortality and morbidity due to measles,” Marinus Gotink, UNICEF’s chief of health in Myanmar, told IRIN on 22 March, the first day of the campaign. “It’s important to continuously emphasize high levels of routine immunization coverage.”

The 10-day campaign involves 9,500 immunization teams of health workers and volunteers in all seven states, with 75-100 children under-five per ward in urban areas and 50-75 children per village in rural areas to be vaccinated daily.

Measles outbreaks are reported every four to five years in Myanmar. The last nationwide campaign was in 2007. In 2010 there were 190 registered cases. The following year, 1,774 cases were reported, although health experts believe more infections went undetected or unreported.