Modern, Growing, Successful Province

Launch of the PCV Campaign

Keynote Address by the Honorable MEC for Health - Mr Mxolisi Sokatsha, at the official launch of the PCV Campaign. Kimberley. Frances Baard District – Northern Cape, 03 February 2012: 09h00

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Programme Director

Teachers, parents and children of the Galeshewe Educare Centre and surrounding areas

Senior Managers, District Manager, and Departmental officials from the Provincial Department of Health

Esteemed Members of the media

Ladies and Gentlemen

Good morning and a warm welcome to all. I am indeed very honored and privileged to be part of today’s important gathering of launching the Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine ( PCV) Campaign. The PCV campaign is a national campaign and also falls within the Sexual and Reproductive Health Month of February as per our Health calendar.

The ANC led government developed a Ten Point Plan to address the service delivery challenges faced by the health sector. The PCV Campaign by government is a direct response to Point 3 – Improving the quality of health services of the health sector Ten Point Plan.

The PCV Campaign aims to target teachers, parents and children.

Ladies and gentlemen, the immunization drive for Pneumococcus vaccine will take place during 01 February to 31 May 2012 for children between 18-35 months and children with chronic ailments from the ages of 18months -71months, throughout South Africa. All children will receive an extra dose of the PCV at their local clinic free of charge. High risk children that are younger than 6 years of age, including children living with HIV, diabetes, heart diseases, kidney failure and other conditions will be given 2 PCV’s, 8 weeks apart.

Invasive pneumococcal disease (meningitis, bacteraemia and bacteraemic pneumonia) –caused by the bacterium Streptococcus Pneumoniae - is a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Pneumonia kills more children than any other illness (more than AIDS, malaria and measles combined). More than 2 million children under the age of five die from pneumonia each year. Infants and children younger than five years of age and adults have the highest incidence of invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD).

South Africa introduced the Pneumococcal vaccine (PCV7) into the SA immunization schedule. The country switched to a newer more effective vaccine(PCV13) which protects against more types of the diseases.

Programme director, the vaccine is safe and has been used worldwide since 2000 and since 2007 in South Africa. A few people may get a slight fever for a few days after PCV 13 injection. Serious side effects from the vaccines are extremely rare, much rarer than the disease itself. Should side effects occur, kindly take the child to the nearest clinic.

It is important that parents take their children to the nearest clinic at least twice a year for weighing, measure their length and head circumference to see whether children are growing well. Parents should also request the sisters at the clinic to give de-worming syrup to all children between ages of 1 – 5 years.

It is important to teach children to eat properly from an early age, e.g. fresh fruits and vegetables, exercise or play instead of watching TV. Mothers must ensure that the lunch-packs are of nutritional value, to refrain from giving children food with excessive salt- or sugar contents. The use of excessive salty or sugar foods may lead to obesity, dental caries, and lack of appetite.

Parents, personal hygiene is of utmost importance, e.g. child must have own facecloth, daily bath, wear clean clothes, brushing of teeth at least twice per day and special care should be taken of hair, to avoid spreading of lice.

Children should be accompanied to and from crèche, to avoid being bumped by cars or possible loss. Parents should ensure that adult supervision is being provided when children are at home because of incidents of rape, accidents, molestation, etc. If incidences of rape and molestations have been identified, it should be reported to the police immediately.

Paraffin containers and matches should be stored in a safe place, at home and at school, to avoid paraffin ingestion and fire. Playing with matches should be discouraged as this could lead to veld-fires, setting houses alight and burns.

Any parent who needs information regarding the health of their children, can visit the nearest clinic.

Ladies and gentlemen, in conclusion I would like to reiterate the importance of the PCV Campaign and I want to urge parents to take their babies and children to the nearest clinic and get the much needed injections and medications. Teachers need to inform parents of changes in children’s health patterns. The campaign is a collective effort between parents, teachers and children to ensure we have healthy children.

I thank you.


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