Burundi

Helping children thrive: Burundi launches nationwide health campaign for child survival

Ruben Julian Hamburger

Rumonge, Burundi – On 24 January, Burundi kicked off the Mother and Child Health Week, a five-day nationwide campaign for child survival. The drive aims to reach over 5 million children and over 300,000 mothers with a package of life-saving interventions, including vitamin A supplementation and deworming.

Since 2002, the government of Burundi, with the support of UNICEF and WHO, has organized Mother and Child Health Weeks biannually. This year, the campaign will run alongside a vaccination program against measles and rubella.

“Despite our best efforts, Burundi has experienced sporadic measles outbreaks since 2019,” said Nathalie Meyer, UNICEF’s Deputy Representative for Programs in Burundi, during the campaign’s opening ceremony at Rumonge’s stadium. “Our most fervent wish is that communities understand, accept and demand the benefits of immunization as a right – a right available to all and accessible to all,” she added.

Between 25 to 29 January, frontline workers will deliver a package of interventions across the country’s health centers, outreach sites and schools in remote areas: vaccines against measles and rubella for children who are 9 months to 5 years old; vitamin A for children who are 6 months to 5 years old; albendazole, a deworming drug, for children between 1 to 14 and pregnant women; praziquantel against Schistosomiasis disease for children between 5 and 14 years old in endemic areas.

Additionally, cooking demonstrations will be held on good parental nutrition practices, as well as sensitization on the prevention of several common diseases, including COVID-19.

The health campaign is supported by UNICEF, WHO, Global Affairs Canada, as well as Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.