Nationwide Measles-Rubella immunization campaign kicks off for 70 million children in Indonesia


Yogyakarta: The Government of Indonesia kicked off its most ambitious immunization drive to date this week in Yogyakarta, with aims to vaccinate 35 million children in Java against Measles and Rubella (MR) by the end of next month. Another 35 million children will be targeted in all other provinces in August and September 2018.

The launch event, held at State Islamic Junior High School 10 in Sleman, Yogyakarta, was officiated by President Joko Widodo. “We have a duty as parents, and a duty as the State to protect our children,” Jokowi told hundreds of Yogyakartans gathered at the school. “Parents, schools – we all need to explain that immunization is important.”

© Cory Rogers / UNICEF / 2017President Jokowi stops by a classroom and sits with students awaiting their MR vaccines. The Government will administer the MR vaccine to any child between the ages of 9 months and 15 years free of charge and integrate the vaccine into the standard package of immunizations. The goal is to achieve 95 per cent coverage by the end of September 2018 and to eliminate both diseases by 2020
© Cory Rogers / UNICEF / 2017A young girl receives her MR vaccination, which prevents both diseases and has been used in more than 141 countries in the world. The vaccinations will be administered in schools in the month of August. In September, the immunizations will move to local health centres and health posts
© Cory Rogers / UNICEF / 2017Grace Melia, founder of the online parents’ community Rumah Rama Rubella, speaks about the challenge of caring for her daughter Aubrey, who was born with a severe case of Congenital Rubella Syndrome (CRS). While the symptoms are mild in children and adults, when contracted by pregnant women, Rubella can cause miscarriage or CRS which can harm foetal development causing disabilities like heart defects, brain tissue damage, eye cataracts, deafness and developmental delays.
© Cory Rogers / UNICEF / 2017From left to right, President Jokowi First Lady Iriana, Yogyakarta Governor Sultan Hamengkubuwono X, Coordinating Human Development and Culture Minister Puan Maharani, and Minister of Health Nina Moeloek converse with three students at the end of the campaign launch event. Most schools in Indonesia have agreed to administer the immunization. In a small number of communities, however, misinformation has given rise to the idea that vaccines are considered harem, or forbidden by Islam. UNICEF has worked closely with the Government to counter this myth with an outreach strategy that highlights widespread Muslim acceptance of immunizations

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