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Clamp on measles

Riyadh, August 21, 2007

Health Miniser Dr Hamad Al Manie reaffirmed his ministry’s determination to eliminate measles (rubella) and prevent it from spreading in Saudi Arabia by next year.

According to Arab News, Al Manie said the ministry has established a comprehensive plan for Saudi Arabia, which will be executed earlier than the 2010 target agreed by regional health ministers in accordance with an agreement conducted in conjunction with the World Health Organisation (WHO).

He also said that preparations have been made for a national measles vaccination campaign, which will begin on Saturday, adding that millions of measles vaccines have been secured.

The campaign, which is targeted at 6.5 million citizens and expatriates between the ages of nine months and 18 years, shall be launched in two phases.

The first phase, for children between the ages of nine months and six years, will take place at medical centers starting on Saturday and will end on November 21.

A secondary phase, for pre-school, primary, intermediate, and secondary students, will take place at schools on October 22 and end on November 21.

Al Manie urged all families to bring their children to medical centers for vaccinations. As many as 22,200 Health Ministry employees working in about 2,000 medical centers across the Kingdom will take part in the campaign.

Dr. Khaled ibn Ali Al Zahrani, undersecretary for preventive medicine, said the Health Ministry is coordinating with the Education Ministry to execute the second stage of the campaign in kindergartens and schools.

He stressed the importance of the campaign, which comes within the Health Ministry’s endeavor to eradicate measles in the Kingdom.

“We will follow up on the results of the vaccinations during both the first and second stages of the campaign,” Al Zahrani said in the Arab News report.

Contagious Diseases director Dr Amin Mishkhas, quoted by the paper, said measles were eradicated in the Americas in 2000 and that Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean, including the Kingdom, have determined 2010 as a time limit for eradication. The Western Pacific has fixed a 2012 target. Africa and southeastern Asia are aiming to reduce prevalent rates and prevent epidemics.




Tags: Measles |

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