Medical experts warn against danger from Measles- Rubella, say vaccination sole protector
TURA: Medical experts have urged parents, guardians and stakeholders in Garo Hills ensure children in the age group of 9 months onwards to 15 years avail the latest vaccination against Measles and Rubella to safeguard them from this viral disease which is the leading cause of death in children under five years.
The mass immunization drive begins from October 1st throughout the state of Meghalaya, including the five districts of Garo Hills.
To highlight the dangers from these two diseases which can cause severe complications such as Encephalitis (swelling of the brain), pneumonia, diarrhea and even death to a child, the state health and medical department organised a media sensitization workshop for working journalists in Tura DC office on Thursday.
Duirng the interaction it was revealed by doctors that two cases of Rubella infection was detected under Darengre primary health centre and Dobasipara urban health centre, last year.
Most recently, a suspected outbreak of measles has been detected in the Dadenggre civil-sub-division area and the health department is awaiting results of samples taken from the patients.
To make matters worse, people in certain areas have been refusing to join the immunization programme after fake news on social media was spread creating a fear psychosis among parents.
To quell these rumours, a massive awareness programme has begun from the government side ahead of the immunization drive, beginning next month.
“Children in the ages of 9 months to 15 are most vulnerable against these two diseases and there are 1,70,081 children in West Garo Hills that is targeted for vaccination,” said Dr Ivory A sangma and Dr Ivonne M Sangma while addressing the media during the media sensitization programme in the Deputy Commissioner’s chamber.
The single doze vaccine injection which is to be administered on children to protect them against the two diseases has been produced and manufactured in India and approved by the World Health Organization, it was informed at the meet.
In their drive to eliminate Measles and control Rubella, medical teams are facing multiple challenges. In the remote Purakhasia region bordering neighbouring Bangladesh, one group of inhabitants who have never taken any vaccination and follow their own religious sect remain opposed to any immunization programme, thereby endangering their children who happen to be their future generation.
Even in the heart of Tura town, some families living in the Daldagre and Rongkha Chiring area have been opposing the vaccination campaign, revealed doctors.
Similarly, there has been pockets of resistance to vaccination in some pockets of the densely populated plains belt region of West Garo Hills.
Rumours about the vaccine causing infertility had created a stir among sections of the people in the plain belt areas.
“There is no link between the Measles Rubella Vaccine and infertility,” stated doctors categorically.
“This is basically due to lack of awareness and the spread of fake news in social media. I met community leaders, teachers and students in two schools and was able to clear the air on the issue recently,” informed deputy Commissioner Ram Singh, who also participated in the media sensitization programme.
Referring to the misconceptions among the people against the Measles and Rubella vaccination campaign, the deputy commissioner has appealed to the press to clarify especially if there is any negative issue regarding the vaccination, since negative impact is very difficult to remove from the minds of the people, he said.
He informed that Meghalaya will be the 25th state to conduct the vaccination campaign while other states, including Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur, have successfully conducted it in their respective states.