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Govt., WHO cooperate to combat measles in Sudan

August 5 - 2015 KHARTOUM
A child receives a vaccination against measles in Sudan (NooraniUnicef)
A child receives a vaccination against measles in Sudan (NooraniUnicef)

The Sudanese Ministry of Health, in coordination with the World Health Organisation (WHO), are mobilising available resources to continue their response to the measles outbreak in the country.

Sumaya Idris Okoud, State Minister of Health, said that the Ministry, with the support of WHO, has vaccinated more than 6.3 million children between six months and 15 years during the first six months of this year, 38 percent of the target of 16.5 million children of that age group in Sudan.

The outbreak started in late December last year. People in 11 localities of Kassala and El Gedaref were affected by January. In April, measles cases were reported in an additional 28 localities in the Red Sea state as well as West, East, and North Darfur.

The Ministry of Health (MoH), in coordination with the WHO, conducted a ten-day vaccination campaign from 22 April until 1 May, funded by the Measles and Rubella Immunisation Initiative to control the outbreak. The campaign targeted 1.7 million children, the WHO reported in a press release today.

“Credit is due to the Sudanese Association of Paediatricians and clinical staff working on case management.” Dr Malik El Abbasi, director-general of the MoH Public Health Care Directorate commented.

Moreover, the WHO supported the MoH in June 2015 to contain the outbreak of measles in 52 localities in South, North, East, and Central Darfur. During the last week of June, more than 3.5 million children were vaccinated.

“The MoH and WHO are currently working to enhance the case investigation, management, and response measures in the outbreak states through the deployment of epidemiologist teams from the Ministry and the WHO Country Offices in Sudan,” said Dr Naeema El Gasseer, WHO Representative and Head of Mission in Sudan.

She stressed the joint work with partners such as Unicef and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF/Doctors Without Borders) in support of health services in Sudan.

WHO recommends a jointly conducted comprehensive review of the current interventions to control the outbreak and develop a quality plan for a national campaign in early 2016.

However, the WHO notes in its press release that a lack of sufficient funds is still hampering the implementation of a country-wide immunisation campaign and continues to jeopardise the health of 16.5 million children of the six months to 15 years age group in Sudan.

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