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Health releases report on immunisation-related deaths

WINDHOEK, 12 JUL (NAMPA) – The five children who died after being vaccinated last year, died of other causes and not as a result of the vaccinations, an assessment by the Ministry of Health and Social Services has shown.
Two of the babies were vaccinated as part of the national Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI).
Deputy Minister of Health and Social Services, Juliet Kavetuna in the National Assembly on Wednesday read out the ministry’s causality assessment report drawn up after investigations were carried out by the ministry.
She said four of the cases were reported in Rehoboth district, while the fifth case was reported in the Windhoek district.
Three of the children had received the routine vaccination at six weeks of age while two were vaccinated during the National Measles Rubella Supplementary Immunisation campaign that took place from 11 to 22 July 2016.
The report said their deaths were not reactions to vaccines or due to programme errors, but are classified as being coincidental to vaccinations with various possible causes of deaths.
Kavetuna said three of the babies that died in Rehoboth died of malnutrition and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, commonly referred to as “cot death.”
The fourth death in the Rehoboth district was caused by possible Streptococcus Pneumonia Bacterial Meningitis, while the death reported in Windhoek was due to possible bronchopneumonia with a possible state of epilepsy.
Kavetuna said the investigations were conducted by the National Adverse Event Following Immunisation committee made up of highly respected professionals in the health fraternity from both the public and private health sector.
The committee was established in 2015.
They conducted in-depth and independent interviews with the affected parents, the staff at the health facilities where the children were vaccinated and the State forensic medical officer who had done the post-mortem diagnosis.
Where additional technical expertise was needed, the committee sought support from the World Health Organisation in Namibia as well from the Inter Country Support Team in Harare, Zimbabwe.

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