Zambia Red Cross Society with support from American Red Cross and in collaboration with the Ministry of Health has engaged 1,200 volunteers to conduct door to door Measles-Rubella (MR) Campaign in Lusaka District, focusing on community social mobilisation.
Through the on-going Measles-Rubella campaign which runs from 23rd to 28th November 2020, ZRCS is encouraging all parents to priotise immunisations as they are equally important during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lusaka Branch president Bishop Samuel Matoka said 1, 200 volunteers from both the Red Cross and Ministry of Health are conducting the door-to-door community sensitisation campaigns to encourage caregivers to take their children between the ages of 9 months and 59 months to get vaccinated against measles and rubella.
Speaking at the training of supervisors in Lusaka last Monday, Bishop Matoka said, “this is going to be a mammoth task but as Red Cross, we are not new to this kind of work. We have realised that programmes such as Measles-Rubella, will bring out the given interest of volunteers to be available for them to work with the Red Cross”. We are a community-based organisation with a lot of experience, and this is what we have been doing over the years. The Lusaka branch has a lot of volunteers who are already in the community doing various activities. We are here to work very hard, to improve the lives of people in the greater Lusaka.
Bishop Matoka said, “as for this vaccination campaign, we give it a greater level of importance as measles is one of those diseases that causes morbidity and mortality in our country, we can therefore eliminate it or reduce its impact on the lives of people”
And ZRCS Acting Health and Care Manager Saul Sinyinza said the door to door campaigns will be conducted in selected sub-districts of Lusaka targeting caregivers with children aged between 9 and 59 months. The approximated total population to be reached is 614,829 aged between nine and 59 months in 507,048 Households.
And Health and Promotion Officer from the Ministry of Health Faith Mwanza advised the volunteers to adhere to COVID-19 preventive measures during the campaign such as masking up, observing social distancing, regular washing of hands and sanitising.
Ms Mwanza said, “pick an area which is well ventilated if possible, when you go to these households, preferably ask that you sit outside where we are sure that the air is passing and also refrain from shaking hands and hugs, to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
According to Center of Diseases Control (CDC) Measles and rubella are vaccine-preventable diseases, yet measles still claims an estimated 568 lives (mostly children) worldwide each day, and rubella is a leading cause of preventable birth defects.