The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, has started distributing drugs for pneumonia and cholera vaccination for children to be offered at health centres throughout the country by next month.
The vaccination campaign will help to reduce child deaths, as statistics show that 122,000 children die every year due to the two diseases.
A large number of the deaths is caused by malaria, pneumonia and cholera, which are caused by a virus known as Rotavirus. The virus accounts for 18 per cent of children's deaths. So far all health centres in the country have been supplied with Rotaric and PCV 3 vaccination drugs.
Speaking during the Annual Africa Vaccination Summit organised by the World Health Organization (WHO) in Dar es Salaam, IVD programme manager at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Dr Dafroza Lyimo, said the people shouldn’t worry about the availability of the vaccines as local councils have committed to carry out the vaccination.
“The vaccines are already in the country and have been received by our ministry. We are now distributing them to all the health centres,” she stated.
Dr Dafroza said the government has managed to cut children's deaths through such vaccination, adding that this year alone the deaths have been reduced by 49 per cent compared to 1999 figures.
She said further that deaths of children under one year have decreased by 45 per cent, which would help the country realize Millennium Dedelopment Goal number 4 by 2015.
“Vaccination is the only solution to combating deaths caused by the diseases in children. The vaccination should go hand in hand with better hygiene for children. Therefore, parents must wash their hands when giving food to their children and boil water,” Dr Dafroza stated.
Speaking earlier at the launch of the vaccination campaign held at Buguruni health centre, Minister for Health and Social Welfare Dr Hussein Mwinyi said his office is set to ensure that all children access vaccination for Rotavirus and pneumonia.
“We have prepared ourselves well to know which children have not been vaccinated so that they get the service which is being offered free of charge at all health centres in the country,” he said.