BUJUMBURA December 6th (ABP) – The Ministry of Public Health and the Fight against AIDS, through the Expanded Program of Immunization (EPI), launched, throughout the territory of Burundi on Tuesday December 4, 2018, a Meningitis vaccination campaign which will run until 13 December 2018, for 77% of the Burundian population aged 1 to 29. In health centers and other sites selected by administrative and health officials, mobile teams of 7,869 vaccinators and 5,246 support staff have been deployed in schools, universities, prisons, convents (nunnery, friary,…), orphanages and other groups such as military and police and refugee camps.

In Muyinga (north-east), the influx of the people aged one year to 29 to the meningitis vaccination sites was low on the first day of the campaign, at the health centers of Muyinga, Gahororo, Gatongati and Rugari in the health district of Muyinga. The chief medical officer of the said district Dr Mathias Nsabimana regrets that the target people arrive drop by drop, while the objective is to vaccinate 3,000 people per day in the said sites, where 600,000 people are expected before the end of the campaign. He also deplored the lack of a category of the target people, such as youth and adult males. For him, the supervision work may be handicapped by the shortage of diesel. The governor of Muyinga province, Ms. Aline Manirabarusha, urges administrative officials to redouble their efforts in the mobilization of the target people, but also to remember that meningitis is a serious and contagious disease.

In Makamba (south), the vaccination campaign against meningitis was launched at the provincial health center (CDS) by the provincial supervisory committee, a check on the site by ABP has revealed.

The administrator of Makamba commune, Mr. Japhet Ntungwanayo, said that people were mobilized to attend that campaign. The governor of Makamba, Mr. Gad Niyukuri, thanked the people who were already at the vaccination site of the CDS Makamba. He warned anyone that launch malicious remarks against the campaign.

In Kayanza (north), the meningitis vaccination campaign was officially launched by Governor Anicet Ndayizeye, along with the provincial supervisory committee. Addressing vaccinators, sorters and pointers, he asked them to make it easier for anyone concerned to benefit from the vaccine. Mr. Ndayizeye urged administrative officials at all levels to ensure that there are no detractors who would try to provide false lessons by blocking the achievement of the goal already set. He urged those administrative officials to report anyone suspected of being an impediment to this ongoing activity to bring them to justice. At CDS Maramvya, at 10:45 am, more than a hundred people had been vaccinated. Note that in the Kayanza health district, the vaccination campaign against meningitis concerns 580,141 beneficiaries and will be carried out in 168 sites distributed in the three health districts of the Kayanza health province.In Rumonge (southwest), the campaign was officially launched at CDS Minago and Kizuka by the provincial governor, Mr. Juvenal Bigirimana, along with health officials from Rumonge. Mr. Bigirimana invited all target people to massively attend the campaign. Across the province, 372,671 people are expected.

The majority of people composed of mothers with babies under 3 years old had attended the vaccine. Gitega province expects 700,000 people being 1 year and 29 years old, said Dr. Niyibizi, who administered the first vaccine to a nurse from the team of vaccinators of CDS Giheta. The choice was made for reasons of dissuasion of the public present on the importance of this vaccine which must be administered to all people of this age group indistinctly. It was also a way of denying false information about the vaccine, said Dr. Niyibizi. In his speech, the governor of Gitega reiterated the urgent need for meningitis prevention, which is contagious and has harmful and even deadly consequences for those affected. He congratulated the people that attended the campaign from the first day, calling on the village and community leaders to get involved in raising awareness for effective participation of the target group. The governor of Gitega invited parents aged 29 to be vaccinated as well as their children.In Gitega (center), the meningitis vaccination campaign activities were launched at CDS Giheta by the provincial governor, Mr. Venant Manirambona, along with the director of the Provincial Health Office, Dr. Roland Willy Niyibizi, as well as supervisors at the national and provincial levels.

In Bubanza (north-west), the followers of Eusébie Ngendakumana refuse to be vaccinated against meningitis, and some of them preferred to flee with their children and intend to come back after the campaign, according to local administrative source. Those followers are reported mostly in Musigati commune, in the Masare, Kiziba and Busiga villages. According to the same source, in the only village of Masare, followers of Eusebie living in more than ten households fled to an unknown place. In Kiziba village, members of an entire household also fled, just as in Busiga village. At the Masare Basic School, 20 students have suspended studies and say that they will resume them after this campaign, thus avoiding being vaccinated at school. Here, the governor of Bubanza province, Mr. Nobus Therence Butoyi and the director of the Provincial Health Office Dr. Joëlle Bigirimana, launched the campaign in the same commune of Musigati where the governor of Bubanza called on those followers of Eusebie to meditate their decision and to realize that the vaccination was organized for their interest. Governor Butoyi also indicates that the administrative officials plan to seek those followers of Eusebie to raise awareness for the vaccination, and said that whoever will resist will be punished in accordance with the law because, according to him, no one is entitled to sabotaging the State program. Note that in Bubanza province, the expected people for the vaccination are 400,880 and the campaign is taking place on 122 sites.

In Bururi (south-west), people attended this big event marked on the first day by a delay of the vaccinators on the vaccination sites. This delay was due to the late arrival of vaccines and other materials used. On many sites that the check by ABP paid a visit to, people were coming drop by drop. In general, provincial Doctor Désiré Nduwimana said that the difficulties encountered were related to the shortage of fuel. Indeed, on a single station that operates regularly, the pumps were dry. They resorted to the Bururi military camp to borrow a few liters for the campaign not to be paralyzed. The health province has recruited nearly 200 additional agents to support the existing medical staff. Dr. Nduwimana hopes that the campaign will be a success because awareness on all levels has been well done. Note that the Bururi province plans to vaccinate 302,194 people during the 10 days of the campaign.

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