Health Secretary Commends Sri Lanka’s Immunization Drive Amidst Measles Concerns
January 08, Colombo (LNW): Dr. Palitha Mahipala, Sri Lanka’s Health Secretary, lauded the nation’s robust immunization campaign during an inspection tour of a measles vaccination site in the CMC area. The visit coincided with a nationwide initiative to administer an additional measles dose to infants aged between six and nine months, aimed at curbing the disease’s spread.
Highlighting Sri Lanka’s recognition by the World Health Organization for measles eradication in 2019, Dr. Mahipala noted a recent rise in measles cases, prompting the Health Ministry to collaborate with WHO and UNICEF in implementing the additional dose campaign.
The program extends beyond infants, encompassing general clinics countrywide for children aged nine months to fifteen years who lack prior vaccination. Dr. Mahipala announced plans for a subsequent round of the campaign in two weeks and expressed gratitude to the Epidemiology Department, WHO, UNICEF, healthcare, and field staff for their support and contributions.
The campaign spans 1,600 clinics across nine districts, namely Colombo, Gampaha, Kalutara, Galle, Matara, Jaffna, Kandy, Kurunegala, and Ampara. Additionally, a proactive door-to-door awareness drive involving Health Secretary Dr. Asela Gunawardena and officials aimed to educate communities about the significance of the additional measles vaccine.
Earlier efforts involved Family Health Service officers visiting households in high-risk areas to disseminate information about the national vaccination program and clinic locations.
Noteworthy participants in these efforts included Deputy Director General Dr. G. Wijesuriya, Director Dr. Priyantha Athapattu, Chief Epidemiologist Dr. Samitha Ginige, and Chief Medical Officer of the Colombo Municipality Dr. Ruwan Wijemuni, alongside medical specialists.