- The UN Children's Fund is targeting over 800, 000 children for vaccination against malaria, measles and diarrhoea in its massive campaign to address leading causes of death among children in the Central African Republic.
The ten day campaign aims to vaccinate children under the age of five for measles as well as distribute bars of soap, for washing hands, to help prevent diarrhoea. The campaign will also include distribution of treated mosquito nets to eliminate malaria, which has been the leading cause of death among children in the country.
"UN agencies and non-governmental organisations run campaigns all the time, but this is a big one and we want it to stand out," UNICEF representative in CAR Mahimbo Mdoe said.
He said health officials and the agency will also visit all centres countrywide and families to equip them with skills to confront illnesses among the under fives with the aim to reduce fatalities.
According to the UN statement, UNICEF has spend close to a year preparing for the campaign, including pre-positioning equipment throughout the country, training over 1,750 health volunteers and identifying 885 sites where vaccinations will take place.
Head of UNICEF's Health Section in CAR said getting all the materials in place and convincing families to take children for vaccination was a huge challenge.
The awareness campaign includes posters, radio spots and news articles, as well as text messages sent by private cell phone companies to their customers and a rock concert featuring public health messages.
UNICEF has reported that the awareness campaign appears to be paying off, with hospitals and health centres across the country reporting long lines of mothers and children waiting for vaccinations.
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