Friday, 25 July 2014 7:53 AM

Health Ministry Responds with Free Measles Vaccination

Given the suspected measles outbreak, the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) and World Health Organization (WHO) remind parents to have their children immunized with the free vaccination available in Solomon Islands.

“Measles is a highly contagious and deadly disease, but can be easily prevented with a vaccine”, said Dr. Lester Ross, Permanent Secretary of MHMS.

“The measles vaccine is safe, effective and free. It is at available at local health clinics in Solomon Islands”, added Dr. Ross.

In the past three weeks there have been 11 cases of suspected measles reported to the MHMS National Surveillance Unit. The last measles outbreak in Solomon Islands was in late 1993 to 1994.

Measles is a viral disease that affects mostly children. It is transmitted through droplets from the nose, mouth or throat of an infected person.

Initial symptoms include high fever, runny nose, red eyes, and white spots on the inside of the mouth. These usually appear 10 to 12 days after infection. Several days later, a rash develops, starting on the face and upper neck, and gradually spreading downwards.

There is no specific treatment for measles and most people recover within a few weeks. However, measles can cause serious complications, including severe diarrhoea, ear infection, pneumonia and, rarely, brain infection.

“Children, particularly malnourished ones, are the most at risk of suffering complications from measles”, said Dr. Divi Ogaoga, MHMS Director Maternal and Child Health.

“Vaccinations make a person resistant to an infectious disease, such as measles. This is why we urge parents to have their children one year and over vaccinated”, informed Dr. Ogaoga.

“Immunization is one of the most successful and effective health interventions. Global measles mortality declined by 74% between 2000 and 2010 thanks to intensified vaccination campaigns”, said Dr. Audrey Aumua, Officer-in-Charge of the WHO Representative Office in Solomon Islands.

MHMS and WHO strongly advise all parents to visit their local health clinics to vaccinate their children one year and over against measles.

Press Release: MHMS

Letters to the Editor All Letters
By GEOFFREY MAURIASI USP, Lacuala Campus, Fiji
By CHARLES KOULI Gizo, Western Province
By JAQUE FRIEDMAN New Zealand