MEASLES UPDATE (23): AFRICA, SOUTH EAST ASIA
In this update:
 Lesotho (Maseru)
 India (Kupwara, Jammu and Kashmir)
Date: Wed 10 May 2023
Source: The Citizen [edited] https://www.thecitizen.co.tz/tanzania/news/national/why-measles-cases-spiked-in-tanzania-in-the-past-year-4229886
Service and supply chain disruptions, resource diversion to response
efforts, and controversies about COVID-19 vaccines caused major
declines in routine coverage in the country, leaving populations
vulnerable to preventable diseases like measles.
According to the government from July 2022 to February 2023 the
country faced a sporadic measles outbreak affecting several districts
and leaving thousands of children infected.
Ministry of Health programme officer Ms Lotalis Gadau said from June
2022 to 3 May 2023 there were at least 3923 confirmed cases.
She said the COVID-19 pandemic caused a major setback in immunisation
programme performance during 2020-2021.
“Pre-pandemic from 2000-2019 reports showed that the National
immunisation programme made steady gains in achieving and sustaining
big levels of vaccination coverage, above 95 percent,” she said.
“However in 2021, the WHO and UNICEF estimates of national
immunisation coverage (WUENIC) showed that Penta3 coverage in Tanzania
fell to 81 percent, a level not seen in more than 20 years The
increase in missed children and dropouts particularly affected measles
vaccination coverage,” said Ms Gadau.
She said the health sector will continue to provide vaccination
services to children and adolescents to avoid vaccine-preventable
At the moment there are 10 different vaccines in Tanzania against 14
preventable diseases, according to the ministry. Speaking yesterday [9
May 2023], acting Dar es Salaam’s regional medical officer Dr Milka
Mathania said the measles situation remains fluid, and health
officials are working around the clock to contain the spread by making
sure every child is being vaccinated.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease that can cause serious
complications and even death, especially in young children. It is
spread through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or
Highly populated places like Dar es Salaam city are more prone to
measles outbreaks because the virus can spread quickly in areas with
large numbers of people living in close proximity to one another. “The
government has also been urged to invest in public education campaigns
to increase awareness about the benefits of immunisation especially
through media channels and dispel myths surrounding vaccines,” said Dr
Dar mayor Mr Omary Kumbilamoto said has also been working to
strengthen routine immunisation services by improving the supply
chain, training healthcare workers, and providing resources to health
This ensures that children receive the recommended vaccinations at the[Byline: Josephine Christopher]