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Measles shots mandatory for newcomers.

LANI ROSE R DIZON DOHA DETERMINED to eradicate measles in Qatar by 2015, the Supreme Council of Health (SCH) has made it mandatory for newcomers to the country to have certificates attesting that the person concerned has received two doses of measles vaccine prior to their departure for Qatar.

Speaking to the media on the sidelines of the ' P l a n n i n g , Monitoring, and Evaluation in Disease Control Programmes' training course, which opened in Doha on Sunday, SCH Manager of Health Protection and Communicable Diseases Dr Mohamed al Hajri said, "We have developed the measles strategy in tandem with the World Health Organisation (WHO), and one of the recommendations was to make sure that all newcomers to Qatar have valid documents to show that they have received two doses of measles vaccines. We will investigate every single case thoroughly, trace all contacts and assess their status.

Also, we want to evaluate the vaccinations of all children aged 18 years and below who are coming with their families. If they don't have updated vaccines certificates we direct them to have immunisation against all vaccine- preventable diseases here as soon as possible." According to Hajri, the measles elimination strategy, which began a year ago, is now being evaluated through the 10- day professional course.

"The recommendations are now being implemented. Last week, for example, these recommendations were distributed to all screening centres in the Philippines where it was announced that every Filipino coming to Qatar should have two doses of measles vaccines before they get their visa. The other countries will also follow suit soon," he added.

Hajri also said that aside from the measles elimination strategy, other communicable and non-communicable diseases control programmes in Qatar would also be monitored and evaluated throughout the course, which is led by the renowned UK-based Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM).

He said, "We will also assess the other disease control programmes in Qatar. This will include communicable diseases control programmes for TB, Hepatitis, as well as such non-communicable diseases control programmes diabetes, chronic heart ailments and mental health among many others. We need to measure our current programmes and what we are planning against the international best practices and recommendations," added Hajri.

Speaking at the opening of the event, SCH Director of Public Health Dr Mohammed al Thani said, "Monitoring and evaluation are important for improvement of the programme, better institutional decision-making and National Health Strategy project implementation.

"It also promotes accountability and public health institutional learning. This training programme will ensure that participants will have the necessary epidemiological planning and leadership abilities to organise and monitor a successful disease control programme." Health officials from the SCH, Hamad Medical Corporation, Primary Health Care Corporation and Qatar Petroleum are attending the short course under the aegis of the LSTM's new Centre for Health in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The lectures are presented by LSTM Head Professor in International Health Dr David Haran and coordinated by Dr Amir Hassan, director of the Centre for Health in Eastern Mediterranean.

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Publication:Qatar Tribune (Doha, Qatar)
Geographic Code:7QATA
Date:Jan 14, 2013
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