Tanzania should mull over banning unvaccinated children


AUSTRALIA is set to ban unvaccinated children from nursery preschool and childcare centres.

The government’s stance comes after a meeting with a mother whose one-month-old baby died from whooping cough, which could have been contracted from a childcare centre.

With Tanzania striving for a more industrial economy, the government should put effort towards ensuring that the current and future generation is protected from diseases which are otherwise preventable.

The Immunisation and Vaccine Development (EVD) Programme, previously known as Expanded Programme of Immunisation (EPI) was established in 1975 with the primary objective of contributing to the reduction of infant and under-five morbidity and mortality.

The immunisation programme in Tanzania has as its goal reduction in morbidity and mortality due to vaccine preventable diseases.

The programme’s broad areas of activity are in routine immunisation service delivery, disease surveillance and coordination of supplementary immunisation works.

In the recent past, Tanzania has been in a revitalisation process, with improved planning, community ownership and involvement, improving coverage, effective mobilisation of funds for EPI, improvements in safety of vaccine delivery and introduction of new and under-utilised vaccines.

After announcing the government’s decision, the Australian Prime Minister, Mr Paul Turnbull said: “This is not a theoretical exercise - this is life and death. “If a parent says, ‘I’m not going to vaccinate my child,’ they’re not simply putting their child at risk, they’re putting everybody else’s children at risk, too,” he said.

The “no jab no play” proposal, if introduced in Tanzania, would mean any child who is not vaccinated would not be allowed to attend childcare or preschool unless they have a medical condition that stopped them from being immunised.

In 2008, WHO estimated that 1.5 million of deaths among children under five years were due to diseases that could have been prevented by routine vaccination.

This represents 17 per cent of global total mortality in under five children. In the UK child vaccination is not mandatory but there are high take-up rates of parents getting their children immunised.

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