ERITREA–In a concerted effort to bolster public health, Eritrea’s Ministry of Health’s branch in the Northern Red Sea Region, alongside community leaders and healthcare professionals, convened for a vital meeting on March 29 and 30 in Massawa.

The primary agenda centered on the forthcoming national measles and rubella vaccination program, complemented by the distribution of essential Vitamin A supplements.

During the gathering, Mr. Tedros Yihdego, the head of national vaccination programs at the Ministry of Health, lauded previous successes in vaccination campaigns, attributing achievements to robust community engagement and the unwavering dedication of healthcare personnel.

 He underscored the ministry’s commitment to ensuring a seamless supply chain to guarantee the program’s efficacy.

Highlighting the specifics of the impending vaccination drive, Mr. Tedros announced that the initiative would target children aged 9 months to 5 years, with additional provision for Vitamin A supplements to children aged 6 months to 5 years.

In her address, Ms. Asmeret Abraha, the Governor of the region, stressed the critical importance of timely information dissemination to prepare communities for active participation in the program.

She urged sub-zonal administrators to play a pivotal role in ensuring the program’s success.

Measles, a highly contagious airborne disease caused by a virus, remains a significant public health concern, with symptoms typically manifesting 10–14 days after exposure.

 These symptoms include a runny nose, cough, red and watery eyes, and distinctive white spots inside the cheeks, followed by a characteristic rash.

Despite the availability of a safe and cost-effective vaccine, measles-related deaths persist globally, primarily affecting unvaccinated or under-vaccinated children under 5 years old.

 The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that measles vaccination has averted millions of deaths since 2000.

However, recent data from 2022 underscores a decline in global vaccination coverage, emphasizing the ongoing need for sustained immunization efforts.

The meeting witnessed comprehensive discussions on various pertinent issues, culminating in a reaffirmation of participants’ dedication to the effective execution of the vaccination program.

By prioritizing disease prevention and addressing challenges head-on, Eritrea aims to mitigate the impact of measles and protect the well-being of its citizens.

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