Health authorities in Guinea are scrambling to contain a measles outbreak that has killed one child, infected 37 others and spread to half of the country’s 33 districts.
More than 400 suspected cases, nearly all of them in children under 10
years old, have been registered. A vaccination campaign targeting over
1.6 million children is to be launched in the coming weeks.
“We have moved from three affected districts in Conakry before the end
of last year to the whole city now being affected. Five more districts
out of Conakry are also affected. It means that it could spread
throughout the country,” said Felix Ackebo, the UN Children’s Fund
(UNICEF) deputy representative for Guinea.
“One of the causes is the nature of the disease. The other is the
social/political instability. Many bilateral donors stopped support,
awaiting the holding of legislative elections. The whole health system
has been weakened. The government was restricted on what it could
purchase, and this affected [availability of] vaccines and other
important drugs. Many of the basic social services have suffered from
this pause in investment,” Ackebo told IRIN. “In the past, we have been
obliged to buy measles vaccines and others because the government could
Only 37 percent of Guinean children are fully vaccinated, according to the 2012 Demographic Health Survey. The country’s last measles epidemic, in 2009, infected 4,755 people and killed 10.
Keita Sakoba, head of disease prevention at the Ministry of Health, said
that the current stock of measles vaccine, meant for routine
immunization, was insufficient for the vaccination drive. He explained
that the outbreak was likely due to the accumulation of unvaccinated
“We will launch a vaccination campaign in the 15 affected districts and
carry out targeted immunizations in districts neighbouring the affected
ones,” Sakoba said.
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Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Measles Outbreak In Guinea - Socio-Political Instability
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