FOUR cases of measles have been reported in the Lebakeng village in Qacha’s Nek and this prompted the Ministry of Health to commence an immunisation campaign to prevent the spread of the disease to the rest of the district and beyond.
Deputy Minister of Health, ‘Manthabiseng Phohleli, recently told the media that the Qacha’s Nek district disaster management office in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) have drawn-up a plan to visit the affected area to curb the spread of the disease.
Measles is a highly contagious infectious disease caused by the measles virus. Symptoms usually develop 10 to 12 days after exposure to an infected person and last seven to 10 days. Initial symptoms typically include fever, often greater than 40 degrees Celsius, cough, runny nose and inflamed eyes.
Ms Phohleli said they have so far come up with plans for an awareness campaign for the affected families to contain the spread of the disease. She said the campaign would also encourage families to take suspected cases to health facilities for treatment.
“We encourage the public to register all the children with measles so that the information would be sent to the ministry’s headquarters while also holding immunisation campaigns in the affected and nearby areas to prevent the measles from passing on to other children,” Ms Phohleli said.
“We also encourage the public across the country to be wary of the signs and symptoms of measles while all suspected cases must be taken to the nearest health centres or clinics for tests.”
Ms Phohleli added that measles was an infectious disease which can cause deafness and blindness hence it must be taken seriously.
She also reminded the public that the ministry’s facilities remained ready to offer different forms of immunisations for children.
“The ministry also appeals to all the relevant stakeholders to join forces in ensuring that the measles is contained from spreading to other districts as this would endanger the lives of many children,” Ms Phohleli said.
For her part, Ministry of Health Director General Nyane Letsie said Lebakeng was one of the hard to reach areas whose immunisation rate remains low.
Dr Letsie many Lebakeng children were likely to be affected by the disease because of its low immunisation rate which stood at 35 percent in 2015.
WHO Country Representative Richard Banda allayed fears saying Lesotho has the capacity to contain the disease.
“According to the information that we have, there is no cause for worry because we have the capacity to contain the disease,” Dr Banda said.