The provincial Department of Health is embarking on a measles campaign as part of the world-wide effort to eradicate this debilitating illness.
The campaign will run until the end of June and is aimed at all children younger than 5 years old. Even if their immunisations are up to date they should receive a booster shot during this campaign.
The department said the best way to eradicate an infectious illness is to make sure that between 93 and 100% of people have immunity. This is known as herd immunity, and works by ensuring that when an illness is released into a community, those people who are exposed are protected. This is because a large number of immunised individuals act as a collective group preventing an illness from spreading.
The secret to the success of any campaign, said the department, is excellent team work between parents /caregivers and local clinics or health services.
As part of the campaign, a consent form will be sent home with children who are enrolled in Grade R at school which parents need to sign and return to the school. The parents of children who are not at school or at an early childhood development centre can visit their local clinic or private health care provider.
The professional health teams that will be visiting crèches and pre-schools can only vaccinate those children whose parents have given consent.
For details on this and other child health campaigns, log on to www.westerncape.gov.za/first-1000-days