Jakarta (ANTARA News) - An additional mass immunization program against measles and polio began simultaneously on Tuesday in 17 provinces.

"The success of this activity is expected to significantly eradicate polio and measles," Health Minister Endang Rahayu Sedyaningsih said here on Tuesday in the launch of the program.

Infectious diseases are among the major cause of child deaths in Indonesia, despite the fact that they are vaccine-preventable diseases.

Immunizations in Indonesia cover five vaccines to prevent tuberculosis, polio, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, measles and hepatitis B.

Routine immunization against measles in the country has been implemented since 1984. The coverage of vaccination against measles has incrased from only 12.7 percent n 1984 to 85.4 percent in 1990, and an average of 90 percent in 2010.

However, the coverage is not spread evenly throughout Indonesia due to geographical, social and economic obstables.

The health ministry has launched additional immunizations against measles and polio for three years, since 2009 in three stages.

The first stage was carried out in three provinces, namely Aceh, North Sumatra and North Maluku, on June 10-24, 2009.

The second stage was in October 2010 in 11 provinces, namely Maluku, West Papua, West Sumatra, Riau, Jambi, South Sumatra, Bengkulu, Bangka Belitung, Riau Islands, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), and Banten.

The third or last stage is being carried out as of October 18, 2011 in 17 provinces, namely East Kalimantan, West Kalimantan, South Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan, North Sulawesi, Southeast Sulawesi, Central Sulawesi, West Sulawesi, South Sulawesi, Gorontalo, Papua, West Nusa Tenggara (NTB), Lampung, East Java, Central Java, West Java, and Jakarta.

The current immunization drive is expected to cover 95 percent of the targeted children all over Indonesia. (*)

Editor: Jafar M Sidik
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