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Measles vaccinations in Blue Nile, South Kordofan: WHO

May 20 - 2016 KHARTOUM
A Sudanese boy receives a vaccination against measles (C. banluta/WHO)
A Sudanese boy receives a vaccination against measles (C. banluta/WHO)

The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced plans to launch a campaign to eradicate measles on 22 May in several states, including Blue Nile and South Kordofan. The campaign will not cover the areas affected by conflict or held by the armed rebels.

The campaign targets more than 4 million children in six Sudanese states, including children from South Sudan who reside in local communities in neighbouring states and refugee camps.

In a press release on Thursday, WHO said the campaign targets children aged 6 months to 15 years old, following previous campaigns that were jointly made by the organisation and the Sudanese Health Ministry in 10 Sudanese states last year. More than 9 million children were vaccinated then.

“The campaign in West Kordofan has been completed mid-May, while the vaccination will continue in the states of Blue Nile, North Kordofan, South Kordofan, White Nile and Sennar, from 22 to 30 May 2016,” WHO stated.

WHO has hired 11 technical staff members who will support and supervise the implementation of the campaign.

The vaccination campaign will not cover the conflict-affected areas of Blue Nile and South Kordofan. Clashes have continued between the government troops and armed rebels of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N).

In March this year, a delegation of the Sudanese government and the rebel movements sat around the table for a consultative meeting with the African Union High-level Implementation Panel (AUHIP). A draft roadmap was proposed that would make the parties agree on a temporary ceasefire and the allowance of humanitarian access to the areas of conflict, for example to carry out polio and measles vaccination campaigns. The SPLM-N, JEM, and SLM-MM refused to sign the agreement.

Since 2011, Khartoum has fought the SPLM-N in the Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan and Blue Nile state (known as the 'Two Areas').

The Sudanese Minstry of Health reported that there were six confirmed cases of measles in Blue Nile between 1 January and 29 April 2016, and 46 cases in South Kordofan. Compared to the similar period in 2015, the numbers are considerably lower.

The upcoming vaccination campaign is the second phase of the measles vaccination campaign in Sudan, with funding from the Sudan Humanitarian Fund (SHF).

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