A week-long measles vaccination campaign is underway in Afghanistan, where the World Health Organization (WHO) says the highly contagious viral disease has killed 142 children and infected 18,000 since the beginning of the year.
“This measles vaccination campaign is part of a nationwide response to stop the spread of the epidemic, save the lives of young children and reduce the strain on the health care system,” said Luo Dapeng, WHO’s Representative in Afghanistan. Monday.
The WHO-sponsored campaign, launched on Saturday, effectively supports the Taliban health authorities in administering vaccinations.
Thousands of health workers have been tasked with vaccinating more than 1.2 million children under the age of five against the disease in 49 Afghan provinces in 24 provinces.
Measles has resurfaced in Afghanistan since January 2021. Authorities have since reported 48,366 infections and 250 deaths from the virus.
The low standard measles vaccination rate, which is 66% and longer since the follow-up campaign for measles in 2018, has led to a large number of children under the age of five accumulating without measles vaccination, the WHO said.
Dapeng urged parents to bring their children to the vaccine against the life-threatening preventable disease and urged everyone in the war-torn country to ensure the safety of Afghan health workers.
Last month, eight polio vaccines, including four women, were shot dead in a house-to-house vaccination campaign against the crippling disease in two provinces in northern Afghanistan.
“The increase in measles cases in Afghanistan is of particular concern due to severe malnutrition,” Dapeng said.
The health crisis comes as UN officials say decades of conflict, devastating drought, a collapsed economy and the impact of international sanctions on Taliban authorities have caused “irreparable damage” to Afghan children.
The United Nations estimates that some 23 million people, more than half of Afghanistan’s population, need humanitarian assistance. It says one in three is facing acute hunger and two million children are malnourished.
The measles epidemic kills 142 children in Afghanistan
Source link The measles epidemic kills 142 children in Afghanistan