Children in the country face the risk of contracting mumps caused by mumps rubulavirus due to limited access to a vital vaccine.
Usually, the vaccine provided in other countries is MMR a combined vaccine against measles, mumps and rubella, which protects children from contracting the viruses from the three viral diseases. According to experts, only measles and rubella (MR) vaccines are provided.
It is a two-dose vaccine given to children at around 13 months and when they are four years. Teenagers and adults can also have a vaccine.
Dr Lisine Tuyisenge, a pediatrician at the University Teaching Hospital of Kigali (CHUK), said cases of mumps are many in the country but they result from not having the vaccine.
“When we had that they were going to introduce the MMR vaccine in 2016, we were happy because cases of measles, mumps, and rubella were increasing but one introduced did not have mumps vaccine,” said Dr Tuyisenge.
“We were supposed to have a vaccine that combines both measles, Mumps and Rubella but the one we have doesn’t protect children from mumps,” said Dr Tuyisenge. “The only way to save children from mumps virus is by introducing the vaccine for the disease otherwise the number will continue to increase in the country,” said Dr Tuyisenge.
She said that there are many children aged between five and 10 who cannot go to school because of the virus yet it can be prevented by the vaccine.
This has also seen some schools in Kigali opt to close doors after detecting cases of the diseases in fear of spreading in the entire school. Last week, two cases of mumps were identified in one of the schools in Kigali which sparked fear of some parents seeking government help.
Deodone Mupenzi, a parent who had a child at the same school where mumps cases were found told Rwanda Today, he knew his child was not vaccinated against but it is because there is no vaccine in the country up to now.
“We know there are some children who were vaccinated from their schools especially those studying from international schools but even us who cannot afford to take our children in those schools we need this vaccine in the country,” he added.