WHO and other partners step up measles vaccination efforts

Internally displaced people accessing health services in a tent donated by WHO to IMC/Photo: WHO/P. Ajello

The World Health Organization and other development partners have stepped up efforts to vaccinate people against the outbreak of measles and other preventable diseases at displaced camps in South Sudan. This follows tests which confirmed measles outbreak in the Juba and Bentiu Internally Displaced Camps (IDP) where a total of 92 suspected measles cases were recorded. Most of the affected were children below five years of age.

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Respiratory tract infections, malaria and acute watery diarrhea are some of the priority diseases reported and being treated at the camps.

“Our immediate priority is to save lives, alleviate suffering and work with other actors to strengthen health services delivery”, said Dr Deo Nshimirimana, the Director of the Immunization, Vaccine and Emergency Cluster.

Preparations are also on-going to vaccinate over 147,000 people with Oral Cholera Vaccine (OCV) in the internally displaced people’s camps at Juba III, Tomping, Bentiu, Malakal, Bor and Awerial. OCV will complement other preventive efforts of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene.

To strengthen health service delivery for the displaced, WHO is making arrangements to support Nimule hospital in order to enhance its disease surveillance and response capacities, and provide life-saving supplies for the affected population.

In other parts of the country such as Jonglei, Upper Nile and Unity States, insecurity remains a challenge, affecting the deployment of extra technical officers to support the health response activities.

Since the beginning of the conflict on 15 December 2013, an estimated 494,000 people had been internally displaced in South Sudan (OCHA 2014) with 86,100 displaced into neighboring countries.