Huge Measles Campaign in Drought-Hit Somalia Aims to Protect Children and Save Lives

A nationwide vaccination campaign is being conducted in Somalia to protect millions of children against the potentially deadly effects of measles. The WHO, UNICEF, national and local health authorities aim to reach more than 4.7 million children aged from 6 months to 10 years during the campaign.  Since the start of the year more than 2,800 cases of suspected measles have been reported in Somalia. In 2017, there were more than 23,000 suspected cases of measles –6 times as many as in 2016 – with the vast majority (83%) affecting children under 10 years of age. More than 2 years of severe drought has exacerbated the situation in the country and has led to widespread child malnutrition, mass displacement, and a lack of access to clean water and sanitation, creating ideal conditions for infectious disease outbreaks.

In support of the campaign UNICEF has procured and distributed over 4.7 million doses of measles vaccine and organized 1,700 social mobilizers to encourage families to vaccinate children and adults who are not or think they might not be fully immunized. This will be accompanied by vitamin A supplementation which will help to boost immunity.

The outbreak response is supported through funding from Alwaleed Philanthropies (Saudi Arabia), the Measles & Rubella Initiative, WHO, and the Somalia Humanitarian Fund.

The full article written by UNICEF and WHO can be found here.

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