Tanzania

Tanzania: At least 6 million children immunised against measles

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DAR ES SALAAM, 2 Aug 2005 (IRIN) - Tanzania completed on Monday the measles immunisation of at least six million children aged five years and below, health officials said.

"Our target was to have 6.8 million children immunised during three days of the exercise and, according to reports, we had a big turn out across the country. We might even have surpassed the target," Anna Abdallah, the minister of health, said on Monday during an occasion marking the countrywide immunisation drive.

She said between 600 and 800 out of every 100,000 Tanzanian children infected with measles died each year.

Also at the same occasion, President Benjamin Mkapa urged for increased local involvement to save millions of children in the east African nation from early deaths.

"There are very few indigenous non-governmental organisations that vigorously advocate for the rights of children, including the right to life, welfare and development to their full potential," he said after kicking off the campaign in the southeastern coastal town of Mtwara.

Mkapa said thousands of Tanzanian NGOs were more engaged in activities concerning prisoners' rights, HIV/AIDS patients, workers' and journalists' rights than child related issues. He said foreign NGOs and international organisations such as UNICEF where the ones involved in activities aimed at safeguarding and promoting children's rights.

"We should form more NGOs to promote the survival and welfare of children," he said.

[ENDS]

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