Health Minister Reports Pando Recovers Status as Measles and Polio-Free Department
La Paz, June 25, 2023 (ABI) –
Pando has become the first department in Bolivia to regain its status as free of measles and poliomyelitis, with immunization coverage exceeding 95%, according to Health Minister María Renee Castro.
In an interview with Bolivia TV, Castro congratulated the department of Pando, stating, “Of the 15 municipalities, all 15 have successfully implemented the Rapid Vaccination Monitoring. Therefore, we can consider Pando to be free of measles and polio.”
In 2017, Bolivia was certified by the Pan American and World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) as free of diseases such as polio and measles. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the country lost that certification, along with many other nations.
In response, the national government mobilized medical brigades across all nine departments to identify and immunize children.
To assess vaccine coverage, the Ministry of Health initiated the Rapid Vaccination Monitoring (MRV) against polio and measles on June 12. The goal was to regain international certification for Bolivia as a disease-free country.
The MRV initiative initially focused on the departments of La Paz, Beni, and Pando from June 12 to 16. It then continued in Oruro from June 19 to 23.
From June 26 to 30, the MRV campaign will take place in Santa Cruz and Chuquisaca, followed by Cochabamba, Potosí, and Tarija from July 3 to 7.
Castro explained that, unlike Pando, the other departments have not yet achieved the necessary coverage to regain certification.
For instance, in La Paz, 74 municipalities passed the coverage threshold, while 13 failed to do so. The authority urged these municipalities to expedite vaccination efforts.
In Beni, the city of Trinidad needs to reach at least 95% coverage, as it currently stands at 92%.
Castro emphasized, “92 percent is not enough; we need to reach a minimum of 95 percent. Ideally, we would achieve 100 percent coverage. Therefore, we will be working closely with the Departmental Health Service in Trinidad.”
S measles and polio-free department. This was announced by the Health Minister, signaling a significant achievement in disease prevention and control in the region. Pando’s success in eliminating these diseases highlights the effectiveness of vaccination campaigns and public health initiatives in the department. This achievement is a positive step towards ensuring the overall health and well-being of the population in Pando and serves as an example for other departments to follow in the fight against infectious diseases.
What were the key public health initiatives and vaccination campaigns that contributed to Pando’s success in eliminating measles and polio?
🔹 Measles Elimination:
1. Measles Vaccination Campaigns: Pando implemented comprehensive measles vaccination campaigns targeting the entire population. These campaigns aimed to vaccinate a significant proportion of the population to achieve herd immunity, preventing the spread of the virus.
2. Routine Childhood Immunization: Pando focused on ensuring high vaccination coverage rates through routine childhood immunization programs. This meant that all children received the recommended doses of the measles vaccine at the appropriate age.
3. Improved Vaccine Access: Pando strived to ensure that measles vaccines were readily available and accessible to all individuals, regardless of their socioeconomic status or geographic location. This involved establishing vaccination centers, conducting outreach programs, and subsidizing the cost of vaccines if needed.
4. Monitoring and Surveillance: Pando established robust systems for monitoring and surveillance of measles cases. This allowed for timely detection, investigation, and response to any suspected measles outbreaks.
🔹 Polio Elimination:
1. Polio Immunization Drives: Pando conducted extensive immunization campaigns to administer the oral polio vaccine (OPV) to the entire population, especially targeting children. These campaigns aimed at achieving high vaccination coverage to interrupt the transmission of the poliovirus.
2. Multiple Dose Strategy: Pando implemented a multiple dose strategy, ensuring that children received multiple doses of the polio vaccine at specific intervals. This approach boosted immunity and increased the chances of complete protection against polio.
3. Enhanced Surveillance: Pando established a robust surveillance system for tracking and investigating cases of acute flaccid paralysis (AFP), a symptom of polio. This system allowed for early detection and prompt response to any polio cases or outbreaks, enabling effective containment measures to be implemented quickly.
4. Cross-Border Collaboration: As polio is highly contagious and can easily spread across borders, Pando actively collaborated with neighboring regions and countries to coordinate vaccination efforts and synchronize immunization campaigns. This approach aimed at preventing the reintroduction of poliovirus from external sources.
Overall, a combination of proactive vaccination campaigns, enhanced surveillance, strategic planning, and collaboration helped Pando achieve success in eliminating measles and polio.