By 26 April, the number of people affected by measles reached 2,169. 27 of them have died, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported in its latest weekly bulletin.
According to the Ministry of Health, the World Health Organisation (WHO), and Unicef, measles has been reported in 32 localities in 14 states across Sudan.
In response, a nationwide measles vaccination campaign was launched on 22 April and will continue for 10 days. Some 1.7 million people aged between six months to 15 years in the 28 worst affected localities are targeted.
These localities are in Red Sea, Kassala, Sennar, West Darfur, East Darfur, and North Darfur states, OCHA reported. WHO and Unicef are supporting the vaccination campaign with logistics, supervision and monitoring, in collaboration with Sudanese non-governmental organisations.
Of the total number of reported measles cases, 69 percent are below 15 years of age, including 52 percent under the age of five. West Darfur remains the worst affected state, with 441 confirmed cases and five deaths. Kassala has had 365 confirmed cases and five deaths, while in Red Sea state there have been 263 cases and four deaths, Unicef reported on 23 April.
“Measles is a life threatening disease, but one that can easily be prevented with timely immunisation,” Unicef Representative in Sudan Geert Cappelaere said. “Every girl and boy must be reached, no matter where they live. There are no excuses and no child can be left out.”
Sudan has one of the highest levels of malnutrition in Africa. 36 percent of the children are stunted, which is a primary manifestation of undernutrition. For malnourished children, measles can cause serious complications, including blindness, ear infections, pneumonia, and severe diarrhoea.