THE Ministry of Health and Medical Services would like to inform the public that the Ministry is closely monitoring the Measles situation in the neighboring countries and is taking proactive measures to prevent the importation of measles virus in the Solomon Islands.
The Ministry has constituted a high level working technical committee to monitor the situation and advise on measures to be adopted in the Solomon Islands to address the threat of measles. These mainly include ongoing mass immunization for children aged 6 months to <6yrs, intensifying surveillance, providing travel advisories, providing information and vaccinating identified at-risk groups.
According to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health Mrs. Pauline McNeil, the Ministry has strategies in place and is monitoring very closely the measles situation. Our primary target now is to prevent measles from affecting our population.
She further said, “so far, the Ministry is working closely with the international points of entries such as the seaports at Point Cruz, and Noro and the international airport in Munda and Henderson Airport in Honiara for effective screening of passengers and crews.”
Furthermore, MHMS has conducted a rubella measles campaign nationally to the specific target population 6 months to 5 years, 11 months. Routine measles vaccines will remain available for children aged 12 to 18 months at the nearest available clinics.
People are advised to be vigilance and to look out for signs and symptoms of measles, especially if you have traveled abroad or have come into contact with someone who has been in countries experiencing measles. The main signs and symptoms of measles include;
- High fever that lasts for 4-7 days.
- Rash on the face and upper neck and then spreads down the body.
- Running nose, cough, red, watery eyes and small white spots inside the cheeks.
Those who are experiencing such symptoms should avoid close contact with other people including family members and go to the nearest clinics for proper advice. Measles virus is easily spread through coughing, sneezing or close contact with an infected person.
Measles can be prevented through effective immunization. Parents must always bring their children to get vaccinated at the right age at the nearest clinics. The public is also advised to practice good habits such as covering their mouths when coughing and sneezing, avoid overcrowding rooms or events and eating good healthy diets.