OVER 80,000 CHILDREN IMMUNISED THROUGH THE NATIONAL MEN C IMMUNISATION PROGRAM

OVER 80,000 CHILDREN IMMUNISED THROUGH THE NATIONAL MEN C IMMUNISATION PROGRAM

The National Meningococcal (Men C) Immunisation Program, in its 4th week has to date immunised over 80,000 children aged 1-19 years across the Central Division and the Ra Sub-Division.

The Ministry’s Immunisation team has achieved 100 percent visitations to all schools in Ra-Subdivision and 89 percent visitations to schools in the Central Division.

The nation-wide mass immunisation campaign led by the Ministry of Health and Medical Services is supported by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO).  The Men-C immunisation programme aims to immunise all children and teenagers in Fiji aged between 1 to 19 years of age, free of cost, and is being delivered at schools, kindergartens, health centres and nursing stations across Fiji. The program began in the Central Division and Ra Subdivision on 14th May and will continue until Friday 29th June 2018.

The immunisation campaign will be rolled out in the Eastern, Northern and Western Divisions in the coming months. The shipment of the next round of 200,000 doses is to ensure that the 320,000 children between the ages of 1-19 years in Fiji will be immunised. Children and teenagers are most at-risk of contracting Men-C.  The vast majority of cases in 2018 have been under the age of 19.

The Ministry would like to remind the general public that Men.C Immunisation is safe, it is effective, and it saves lives. Mass immunisation of Fijian youths also helps to protect the broader community, as it has been shown to significantly prevent the ongoing transmission of the bacteria within a population.

Meanwhile, the Ministry would like to thank all the parents who have consented so far to have their children vaccinated.  The Ministry also acknowledges the teachers and the communities for their ongoing support for the National Meningococcal (Men C) Immunisation Program.

Parents who are yet to give consent for their children to be immunised are reminded that Meningococcal disease is a deadly disease and it’s in the best interest of the children that they should get immunised.

  • For children aged 1-5 years old, who do not attend school, parents and guardians can get them immunised by taking them to the nearest health centre or nursing station.
  • For children aged 5 -17 years old, and in school, immunisation teams are visiting schools and immunising children under parental consent. If any child misses out on their immunisation at school, parents are encouraged to take their child to the nearest health centre or nursing station.
  • For children aged 18-19 years old, undertaking tertiary level studies, stays home or is working, it is advised that you visit the nearest health centre or nursing station
  • Consent forms are provided to children under the age of 18 years, and immunisation will only be given to those children with a signed parental consent form.

Families are advised to familiarise themselves with the symptoms of this deadly disease and practice proper hygiene to prevent it from spreading. Men-C is treatable when caught in its early stages, but early detection is key to survival. If there is any sign suspect meningococcal disease, immediately go to a health facility to be assessed.

How to prevent the spread of diseases such as meningococcal disease:

Fijians are encouraged to practise proper hygiene by:

  • Covering their mouth and nose with a tissue or handkerchief when coughing and sneezing
  • Disposing of used tissues in the bin or washing your handkerchiefs daily with soap and water
  • After coughing or sneezing, wash your hands with soap and water
  • Don’t share eating utensils, cups/glasses/water bottles, drinks at social gathering (taki), cigarettes or kava bowls.

Further information about meningococcal disease:

Symptoms of meningococcal disease, especially for older children and adults include:

  • Sudden fever
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Stiff neck/backache

Other symptoms include nausea, eyes are sensitive to light, confusion, and in the final stages of the disease, a red/purple rash on the skin.

In babies and small children, parents and carers should stay alert for the following symptoms:

  • High fever
  • Unusual crying
  • Refusing to eat or drink
  • Vomiting
  • Floppy/drowsiness
  • Changes in sleeping patterns
  • Seizures or fits

In the final stages of the disease, a red/purple rash on the skin.

For further information about the disease, visit the Ministry’s website: https://www.health.gov.fj/?page_id=6575 for information on Immunisation roll out program visit https://www.health.gov.fj/?page_id=6884

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