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Health Campaign to Protect Indonesian Children Successfully Completed
Date:10/19/2007

More than 31 million children received measles vaccinations

WASHINGTON, Oct. 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Responding to an urgent and specific need in numerous provinces throughout Indonesia, the government of Indonesia completed an integrated health campaign on September 10, 2007, successfully protecting more than 31 million children against measles. Many children also received other life-saving health interventions --- including polio vaccinations, vitamin A supplements, micronutrient sprinkles, de-worming medicine, and insecticide-treated nets to prevent malaria --- that were distributed as part of this multi-phase integrated campaign.

The Indonesian Ministry of Health began its campaign in an effort stop the spread of measles and strengthen the immunization system in areas affected by the 2004 tsunami. Following the tsunami, many children in Northern Sumatra were vulnerable to diseases due to the crowded and unclean living conditions, along with damage to the health infrastructure. Largely through the response of international agencies and efforts by local communities, many children were protected from further suffering.

"This completion of this campaign represents a remarkable success for the children of Indonesia," said David Meltzer, Senior Vice President of International Services for the American Red Cross. "This demonstrates what can be achieved by mobilizing the power of communities and volunteers to reach millions of children in some of Indonesia's most remote areas."

In 2004, Indonesia was identified as one of five countries with more than one million children unvaccinated against measles. At that time, routine immunization coverage was approximately 70 percent and an estimated 30,000 children died from complications caused by measles each year. Being the world's fourth most populous nation, the high coverage attained in Indonesia is an important step toward the global goal of reducing measles deaths by 90 percent by 2
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SOURCE American Red Cross
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