KASUNGU-(MaraviPost)-The Malawi Government, through the Ministry of Health, on Friday launched the much-awaited integrated measles-rubella vaccination campaign, that aims to immunize eight million children aged between nine months and 14 years.

The vaccination campaign runs from Monday, June 12 to 16, 2017 throughout the nation. It is the first of its kind; previously the country only administered the measles vaccine.

This joint exercise, will also administer the rubella vaccine, which is generally a mild infection, although it has serious consequences in children.

The campaign has attracted funding from the Global Alliance on Vaccination Immunization,
worth US$5.5 million (MK4.1 billion), while the Malawi Government has contributed MK4 billion.

The campaign will provide over 2.7 million vitamin A supplements, and one million deworming tablets to children aged six to 15 months.

Minister of Health Peter Kumpalume, told a gathering in Kasungu that about 11,000 sites have been designated for the vaccine campaign.

Kumpalume said that the growing cases of rubella, a highly infectious, viral disease, caused by the rubella virus, prompted Government to initiate the joint vaccination program.

The health minister said sites include static clinics, outreach clinics, and temporary sites; these will be opened in all Government, Christian Health Association of Malawi (CHAM) and private health facilities.

World Health Organization (WHO reports reveal that in 2015, globally measles killed about 134,200 children mostly under the age of five.