Measles immunization programme to begin in Trincomalee

[TamilNet, Thursday, 12 June 2003, 00:15 GMT]
For the first time a national measles immunization programme is to be inaugurated in the northeast province on June 13, Friday. This programme would be extended to other provinces in the island from September onwards, provincial health ministry official said.

The secretary of the northeast provincial governor Mr.S. Amirthalingam will inaugurate the first phase of the measles programme on Friday morning around 8 a.m. at Thampalakamam Puthukuddiyiruppu Madhya Maha Vidiyalayam in the Trincomalee district.

"Phase 1 of the programme would target all children between 10-14 years of age group and it would be conducted for a period of 6 to 8 weeks from July-August 2003 in the northeast province," provincial health ministry official said

Phase 1 measles immunization would be conducted in other provinces in September-October 2003, provincial health official said.

Phase 2 of the national measles programme would be held in the country in 2004 targeting the age group between 16 and 20, sources said.

The specific objectives of the immunization are to provide an opportunity for vaccination against measles for those who have never received a single dose of the vaccine, to prevent measles outbreaks and interrupt the transmission of Measles virus by vaccinating the most susceptible and to provide a second opportunity for immunization for those who have already received a dose of measles vaccine, provincial health official said.

Measles remains one of the major causes of significant morbidity and mortality in countries of South East Asia.

Inspite of low incidence of measles during the past decade, an outbreak of the disease occurred in Sri Lanka in September 1999. Over 15,000 suspected cases of measles were notified to the Epidemiological Unit of the Department of Health Services from September 1999 to the end of June 2001, said a provincial health official explaining the vital need for the measles immunization programme.

 

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