Parents urged to immunise children

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Nelspruit - Parents have been urged to immunise their children against preventable diseases such as meningitis, measles and diarrhoea.

Launching the Child Health Campaign on Monday, Mpumalanga Health MEC Dikeledi Mahlangu said the initiative was aimed at reducing ill health and death among children younger than five years of age.

"We appeal to all parents to take pre-school children to their nearest clinic or community health centre for immunisation, vitamin A supplementation, deworming and growth monitoring," said Mahlangu.

As part of the campaign, teams from the department will be visiting crSches and designated community areas to spread awareness on the immunisation programme.

"According to 2009 mid-year population estimates, more than 326 000 children aged between 12 and 59 months live in Mpumalanga and we are appealing to their parents to bring them in for immunisation," she said.

The MEC said Vitamin A supplementation was safe and did not have side effects if correctly administered.

"In addition to vitamin supplementation, children from one to five years old will be given a deworming tablet, which is chewable and dissolves easily in the mouth. We will also be immunising children younger than six who have missed some of their routine vaccinations," added the MEC.

Mahlangu said the current measles immunisation coverage for children younger than one year, was 79 percent compared to 76.6 percent in 2008. She said the department would focus on increasing that to 80 percent.