Drive to protect children from seasonal diseases

DUBAI — Health authorities are asking parents to inoculate children against seasonal diseases spread through close contact, especially in schools.


Asma Ali Zain

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Published: Fri 26 Nov 2010, 12:05 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 4:10 PM

A drive to break mental barriers against voluntary vaccinations and offer protection to school-aged youngsters from emerging diseases was launched at an event on Wednesday.

The UAE-wide awareness campaign titled ‘Pro-Kids’ — abbreviation for protect kids — aims to boost children’s immunity at the time of the year when close contact through social activities often leads to harmful bacteria and viruses being passed from one child to another, said health officials.

“The initiative will help prevent spread of illnesses that can be easily picked up by children whose immune systems are not yet properly developed,” said Ali MaihadAl Suwaidi, Director-General, Ministry of Education.

“It is also this time of year when the weather turns cooler that youngsters are highly active and most in contact with their peers at school, as well as with other adults, so ensuring that they are protected from common infections is vital to help keep them safe from harm.”

As per UAE’s National Immunisation Programme, all children are required to be vaccinated against infectious diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella, TB, polio and chicken pox. All other vaccines, including the one for influenza or common cold, are voluntary and may cost over Dh100 or even more for each shot.

Studies have shown that disease patterns change over time, with conditions such as Hepatitis A being identified a potential future threat for the Middle East region, said the experts.

“This additional small injection takes only seconds to administer yet guards against a host of infectious illnesses that can pose a threat to a child’s future,” said Dr Ali Marzoorqi, Director of the Public and Safety Department, Dubai Health Authority.

The campaign will be implemented through the regional health authorities and led by the Emirates Medical Association. Educationalevents targeting parents will be the focus of the campaign to be run at malls and schools.

“Parents can be safe in the knowledge that vaccination is a procedure that actually strengthens their immune systems,” said Dr Ali Shakar, president, Emirates Medical Association.

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