A vaccination campaign launched by the Ministry of Health in East Darfur to stem a measles outbreak and increase the protection of children’s lives through immunisation, is being supported by international medical relief organisation Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF). The initiative targets about 30,000 children, including South Sudanese refugees, between six months and 15 years.
According to a statement by MSF on Tuesday, hundreds of suspected cases of measles have been reported across East Darfur since early 2022. MSF received the first suspected measles patient in Kario camp primary health care centre at the beginning of January. By the end of March, PHCC received many patients who were exhibiting the symptoms of measles and managing the cases accordingly, the statement says.
“This vaccination campaign is targeting both the South Sudanese refugees in Kario camp and the host communities in the nearby El Ferdous and Bahr El Arab localities,” underlines Topher Mongeon, the project coordinator of MSF in East Darfur. “While the campaign is an initiative of the Ministry of Health, MSF is covering the costs for medical staff and transportation means, as well as ensuring the cold chain.”
Through this vaccination campaign, the health authorities and MSF are also aiming to strengthen the surveillance system at health facility and community level. This should allow for better management and treatment of all detected cases as per measles treatment protocol, increase the awareness about measles prevention among the communities and reactivate the community’s role in health awareness raising, the MSF statement explains.
MSF runs a primary health care centre (PHCC) in Kario refugee camp that provides outpatient consultations, inpatient paediatrics, and therapeutic feeding centre (ITFC) for severe malnutrition, as well as reproductive health services. The PHCC serves both host population of the surrounding villages as well as the South Sudanese refugees living in the camp. MSF has been present in Kario, East Darfur since 2017.