Addis Ababa August 07/2018 Ministry of Health has launched integrated measles, Vitamin A, and de-worming campaign for displaced people in Gedeo Zone of Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region.
The measles vaccination campaign targets 928,000 children aged 6 months to 15 years among the internally displaced and host communities in Gedeo Zone.
More than 500,000 USD has been allocated from the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) towards supporting the preventive measles campaign, it was learned.
The campaign will also involve administering vitamin A to children aged six months to five years and de-worming of children aged two to five years
Plans are underway for a similar campaign targeting 516,000 children in West Guji Zone of Oromia Region, according to WHO press release.
There are close to one million internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Gedeo and West Guji zones sheltering in schools, unfinished buildings, and tents.
The make-shift camps are crowded with limited access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation, posing an increased risk for the spread of communicable diseases.
Children and pregnant and breastfeeding mothers are at high risk of malnutrition, it was indicated.
“Conducting vaccination campaigns for the displaced and host communities are keys to preventing outbreak of infectious diseases such as measles,” WHO Representative in Ethiopia Dr. Akpaka Kalu said.
According to Dr. Kalu, malnutrition also needs to be addressed, which is why this campaign is integrated with Vitamin A distribution and de-worming for young children.
“WHO teams are on the ground in Gedeo working with government staff for technical, operational and logistical support to the campaign and to the overall health emergency response.”
UNICEF is procuring 750,000 doses of the measles vaccine while the balance of 900,000 doses is being bought by Ministry of Health.
“In an emergency of this nature, it is often the children who endure the greatest suffering,” UNICEF Representative in Ethiopia Gillian Mellsop said.
“In these very difficult times for the children of Gedeo and West Guji zones, it is critical that we are present, together with the government and other humanitarian partners, to provide vaccination and other much-needed lifesaving support to children and women.”
With little access to food and safe water, children and women are facing a rapidly deteriorating nutrition situation.
UNICEF has provided malnutrition treatment supplies, deployed trucks to ferry safe water in West Guji, and distributed soap, jerry cans, water tanks, and other non-food items.
Technical experts are on the ground to support the immunization campaign, monitor the screening and treatment of children with malnutrition, and mitigate violence against women and children.
The World Health Organization is providing technical and operational support including micro planning for the campaign, training of supervisors and facilitators, coordination, logistics, and monitoring and supervision of the quality of campaign.
WHO has deployed four international and more than 30 national public health experts to the affected zones to provide technical support on the ground.
The organization has also donated medicines and medical supplies enough to provide emergency treatment to more than 200,000 people.