Saudi princess gives boost to measles vaccination drive
Saudi Arabian Princess Her Royal Highness Lamia bintMajet Al Saud, Secretary General of Alwaleed Philanthropies, says the organisation will provide about US$2.6 million to Laos in support of measles and rubella vaccinations this year.
Associate Prof. Dr BounkongSyhavong presents flowers to Her Royal Highness Lamia bintMajet Al Saud.
The measles and rubella vaccination control project under the National ImmunisationProgramme runs from January 16 to 25 in all provinces.
The goal is to eradicate the viruses in Laos, which would directly reduce the incidence of illness, disability and death of women and children, Director of the National ImmunisationProgramme under the Ministry of Health, DrAnonhXeuatvongsa, said.
Her Royal Highness Lamia bintMajet Al Saud said she had decided to support Laos on behalf of Alwaleed Philanthropies in the hope of minimising the risks and consequences of any measles and rubella re-infection in the country.
The princess made an official visit to the Minister of Health, Associate Prof. DrBounkongSyhavong, on Monday.
Funding of US$500,000 will be given to provincial, district and village health officials for use in awareness-raising activities on the importance of the National ImmunisationProgramme.
DrAnonh said health officials throughout the country must reach out to every household, particularly ethnic groups living in remote and hard to reach areas. This will ensure that children in the most vulnerable communities are equally protected from these debilitating and killer diseases.
Associate Prof. DrBounkong thanked Her Royal Highness Lamia bintMajet Al Saud for the funding support. He said it would help the government to buy measles and rubella vaccines and continue to play an essential role in reducing the incidence of measles and rubella.
“We hope that everyone in the target group in each province receives the vaccine against the two viruses in one shot as scheduled,” he said.
Measles is a major cause of death among young children while rubella causes birth defects such as deafness and congenital heart disease.
“We must maintain high immunity levels and strong disease surveillance to minimise the risk and consequences of any re-infection,” the minister said.
“It is important that we achieve the measles elimination goal and accelerate rubella disease control through this nationwide campaign and also strengthen routine immunisation activities in the country,” he added.
Also on Monday, Her Royal Highness Lamia bintMajet Al Saud visited Vice President PhankhamViphavanh, and President of the Lao Women's Union, DrInlavanhKeobounphanh, to strengthen the friendship and relations between the two countries.
Laos and Saudi Arabia established diplomatic relations on May 29, 1990.
By Phetphoxay Sengpaseuth
(Latest Update January 18, 2017)