South Sudan vaccinates over 690 000 children against measles in 25 counties
Juba, 24 November 2020 – Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the second phase of the measles follow up campaign commenced on 15 November 2020 to vaccinate over 690 000 children aged 6 – 59 months against measles to ensure the continuation of immunization activities.
The campaign is organized and led by the Ministry of Health with support from Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, WHO, UNICEF and other partners, are part of the efforts to ensure immunization stays in the forefront of primary health care to protect children and future generations.
More than 6 000 trained vaccinators are carrying out the campaign using facility-based services to reach all eligible children no matter where they live.
Since the beginning of the year, 1 115 measles cases and 10 deaths have been reported in South Sudan, with all cases being in children under five years of age.
Immunizing all children against measles can eliminate measles as a cause of death. This can only be possible if population immunity was kept at more than 95 % over long periods through routine immunization and supplementary activities.
“The commitment of health workers to reach as many children as possible amid the COVID-19 pandemic and severe flooding is really to be commended”, said Dr Olushayo Olu, WHO Representative for South Sudan. “The implementation of vaccination campaigns is a strong opportunity to reach children with life-saving interventions”.
Since July 2020, severe flooding in South Sudan has forced nearly 1 million people to flee their homes and increases the risk of measles cases with the potential for explosive outbreaks in the congested camps.
The campaign will take place in 25 counties of Central Equatoria, Jonglei, Upper Nile and Unity states.
Note to Editors
Measles is a highly contagious, serious disease caused by a virus. It is normally passed through direct contact and through the air. The virus infects the respiratory tract, then spreads throughout the body. Measles is a human disease and is not known to occur in animals.
Dr Rachel Seruyange, Email: seruyanger [at] who.int
Mr Anson Edu, Email: eduan [at] who.int