MAPUTO– Mozambique has launched a national campaign of vaccination against measles and rubella (also known as German measles) targeted at immunising about 12 million children aged between six months and 14 years.

The campaign, launched by First Lady Isaura Nyusi in the northern province of Niassa on Monday, will take place in two phases. The first, from Monday to Sunday, will cover the northern provinces of Niassa, Cabo Delgado and Nampula, and the central province of Zambezia. The rest of the country will be covered in the second phase, in five weeks’ time, from May 21 to 25.

Speaking on her arrival in Lichinga, the Niassa provincial capital, on Monday Isaura Nyusi urged parents to take their children to the nearest health unit for vaccination over the coming week, media reports here said Monday.

The health authorities say the campaign intends to reach those children missed by the routine vaccinations. The statistics from 2011 indicate that in that year only 66 per cent of children received the measles vaccination.

This campaign hopes to break the cycle of transmission of the measles and rubella viruses. According to the Ministry of Health, more than 90,000 cases of measles were notified over the past seven years, most of them in the last two years.

This disease is still one of the main causes of morbidity and mortality in the country, and occurs in epidemics on a worrying scale. So this campaign is an important step for public health in Mozambique,” said a Health Ministry spokesperson.