By: Uakutura Kambaekua
More than 12,600 (64 per cent) children in Kunene region have been vaccinated against the Measles-Rubella infection, while another 12145 (63 per cent) were also administered with Vitamin supplements during the National Integrated Immunisation Campaign and Covid-19.
The national immunisation campaign concluded last month following its launch six weeks ago to ensure that children are vaccinated and protected from childhood diseases and to prevent Covid-19. The launch was also to respond to new scientific developments and technological advancements.
According to the senior health program officer in the Kunene region, Jason Ndahepele, the region hasn’t yet attained its set target of children but has managed to cover more than 60 per cent of the region.
“We targeted a huge number of children for vaccination, and although we did not reach the target, so far we have reached 12,602 children with the rubella vaccine, giving more than 64 per cent of the region Vitamin A, we reached 12145 children which gave us 63 per cent,” he said.
During the same campaign, the region has also managed to increase its Covid-19 vaccination drive from last month’s 16 per cent to more than 25 per cent. Ndahepele also told this publication that information sharing on Covid-19 and vaccination for eligible targets was part of the campaign.
“We also gave information on Covid-19 and vaccinated the eligible targets. It was not only that we were giving the first comers, but we were also giving the second dose and the booster dose,” added Ndahepele, noting that the region target to vaccinate 8,029 people.
The region, he said, did not yet reach its herd immunity being 70 per cent, which is also what the country is aiming for, but they are still in the process of reaching that.
As the developing partner, UNICEF pumped more than N$1 million into the campaign. Other participating stakeholders were the Red Cross, Public Service Employee Medical Aid Scheme (PSEMAS), World Health Organisation (WHO), Traditional Authorities, and churches.
Furthermore, Ndahepele told The Villager that the region has sufficient vaccine (Zenopharm, AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson )doses for all eligible groups.
“The vaccine is available and enough in all our health facilities. We have the four types of antigens available elsewhere in the country,” he noted.
The children’s vaccination campaign is still in play, thus requiring parents to sign consent letters for permission for children under 14.
“For children, we are starting to vaccinate from 12 years to 17 years. We need cooperation from the parents for them to sign a paper permitting us to vaccinate their kids. Although children can sign, we want the parents to consent or sign for them so that they permit us. Children are only getting the Pfizer dose which is only two doses, and they are not getting the booster dose,” stated Ndahepele.
The region will continue with its integration campaign following the end of the national one by ensuring they reach their target with both the Covid 19 and on-road vaccination.
“Vaccination is still continuing, including Covid-19, and I am inviting and mobilising community members to visit the health facility for vaccination so that they get the vaccine. For those who haven’t made up their mind yet to receive the vaccination, this is the right time to visit health facilities. The vaccines are safe, efficient and available,” he said.
Other services during the campaign included the registration of childbirths and the registration of vulnerable children and persons with a disability for social grants. The regional health directorate managed to cover more than 400 areas/villages.