BLANTYRE--The Ministry of Health (MoH) has suspended a bilharzia vaccination campaign which was supposed to run for a week in southern Malawi, health officials have confirmed.
“We have temporarily suspended the exercise due to some logistical issues and we will inform you shortly the day we will resume the exercise,” Henry Chimbali, Spokesperson for the Ministry of Health, confirmed the suspension to Malawi News Agency.
Chimbali however couldn’t be drawn to disclose the reason behind the decision which follows an incident at Kapeni Demonstration School in Blantyre where some pupils collapsed and were admiitted to hospital after receiving the vaccination.
Other schools don’t want health officials doing the vaccinations near their school.
“We have communicated to Health personnel not to come and conduct the vaccination at our campus because many parents have threatened to deal with us if we allow the vaccination to take place at our school following the incident that took place at Kapeni Demonstration School at Soche in Blantyre,” said Soflet Luwanya, the Head teacher at Nancholi Primary School in Blantyre.
Common in Asia, Africa and South America, birlharzia is a disease caused by worms that parasitise people. The disease is acquired by swimming in infested waters and if untreated, experts warn, bilharzia may cause life-threatening urinary system or liver damage, bladder tumours and bowel cancer.
In another effort spearheaded by MoH to prevent the spread of disease, MaraPost has learnt that people are selling mosquito nets which are distributed freely under the Universal Access Initiative.
John Zohya, malaria control coordinator, says the mosquito nets are for poor people who can’t afford them.
“It’s a sad development,” he says. “Malaria is one disease that is causing many deaths in the country therefore as part of the fight against the disease, we thought of distributing them freely to everyone.”
Zoyha said MoH he had it on good authority that that some chiefs were involved in the selling of the mosquito nets which were made available to the southern African country by the Malaria Foundation in the United Kingdom, Global Fund, Millennium Villages Project and the United States President's Malaria Initiative.
---©2012 The Maravi Post. Reproduction authorised, with usual acknowledgment.