The government of Angola, and its partners in the Measles Initiative, the Global Fund on AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative are launching a major health campaign to provide life-saving interventions for Angolan children. The integrated campaign is targeting more than 3.5 million children with measles and polio vaccinations, vitamin A, de-worming medication, and, in seven provinces, long-lasting insecticide treated nets (LLIN’s). The campaign begins on July 12 in Luanda, with an official launch event on July 13 in Mbaza Congo.
This campaign is a follow-up to a previous measles campaign in 2003, which reached 96 percent of the targeted group. The current campaign demonstrates the importance of follow-up immunization activities in a country where only 64 percent of children receive routine measles immunizations. As a part of the Angolan government’s Maternal and Child Health Mortality Reduction Program, the campaign will focus on vulnerable children, especially those in border regions where there has been a re-emergence of measles outbreaks.
“The number of reported measles cases declined dramatically after the successful 2003 campaign,” says Angela Kearney, a representative of UNICEF Angola, “but routine coverage still requires strengthening in many provinces.”
Drawing on the successful experience in 2003, additional life-saving health interventions will be integrated into the upcoming measles campaign. Approximately 800,000 insecticide treated nets will be distributed across seven provinces where malaria transmission rates are highest. Insecticide treated nets are proven to be one of the most effective methods for preventing malaria, a leading cause of death and disability for children in Angola. Children under age five will also receive polio vaccinations, vitamin A and de-worming medication.
The integrated campaign will be carried out with support from the Measles Initiative, a partnership formed to reduce measles deaths in sub-Saharan Africa that is led by the American Red Cross, United Nations Foundation, World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Additional supporters in this campaign include: USAID, the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative, the Global Fund, CORE, the governments of Japan and Norway, CIDA, Rotary International and DFID. ExxonMobil contributed financial resources and will provide approximately 70,000 LLIN’s to protect children against malaria.
Since 2001, the Measles Initiative has vaccinated more than 213 million children in more than 40 African countries, saving approximately 1.2 million lives. Through the financial and technical support of the Measles Initiative and the commitment of African governments, measles deaths in Africa have fallen 60 percent between 1999 and 2004. This decline represents significant progress toward the overall goal of reducing measles deaths worldwide by 90 percent by 2010.
Michael Oko, American Red Cross, Washington, DC +1 202 303 6820
Amy DiElsi, UN Foundation, Washington, DC +1 202 419 3230
Erica Kochi, UNICEF New York +1 212 326 7785
Steven Stewart, CDC, Atlanta +1 404-639-8327
Hayatee Hasan, WHO Geneva +41 22 791 2103
Zorodza Machekanyanga,, WHO Regional Office for Africa, + 47 241 38129