IOM, Partners Launch Vaccination Campaigns to Combat Measles in South Sudan

Posted: 
05/27/16
Themes: 
Migration Health

South Sudan - In response to an increase of measles cases, IOM South Sudan is teaming up with health agencies to vaccinate vulnerable people against the disease. IOM recently led vaccination campaigns for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Bentiu and Malakal and additional campaigns are in progress.

Following several suspected cases of measles in the UN Protection of Civilians (PoC) sites in Bentiu and Malakal, IOM launched a vaccination campaign for children under five living in both sites. The campaigns vaccinated nearly 45,900 children in Bentiu and 7,300 children in Malakal, reaching over 90 percent of the target group.

The campaigns were implemented in collaboration with International Medical Corps, International Rescue Committee, Médecins Sans Frontières, UNICEF, WHO and World Relief. Led by IMC, the Malakal campaign was also expanded to Malakal town, vaccinating 919 children against the disease.

“The success of these campaigns is due to intensive social mobilization, effective collaboration and leadership of the Health Cluster. But routine immunizations should be strengthened both within and outside of PoC sites to reduce the likelihood of further measles cases, especially among children,” said IOM Migration Health Emergency Coordinator Dr. Andrew Mbala.

Measles is a highly contagious disease that can become life threatening if complications, such as pneumonia, arise. Children and displaced populations living in crowded areas are particularly vulnerable to outbreaks of measles and other contagious diseases.

An IOM Health Rapid Response Team is currently on the ground in Yirol East and West counties to provide measles vaccines for another 46,900 children under five. Health actors have reported 31 suspected measles cases in the two counties this year.

At IOM’s primary health care clinics in Bentiu and Malakal, as well as in Renk, IOM clinics are providing regular vaccinations against common diseases, such as tuberculosis, cholera and polio. Last week, IOM vaccinated 575 children through routine vaccinations.

To date in 2016, 1,321 suspected measles cases have been reported by the Health Cluster and South Sudan Ministry of Health.

For further information, please contact Ashley McLaughlin at IOM South Sudan, Tel: +211 922 405 716, Email: amclaughlin@iom.int

IOM staff vaccinates children against measles at the Malakal PoC site in South Sudan. Photo: IOM 2016