Aid Organizations Start Mass Vaccinations of Somali Refugee Children


Aid Organizations Start Mass Vaccinations of Somali Refugee Children

Epoch Times, 07 Aug 2011

Aid organizations and the Ethiopian government have started a large-scale vaccination program for Somali refugee children in Ethiopian camps hoping to counteract outbreaks of disease among the malnourished population.

The United Nations said it was alarmed Saturday after suspected cases of measles were reported in a camp of 25,000 people in southeastern Ethiopia.

The U.N. Children's Fund in conjunction with the World Health Organization through the Ethiopian Ministry of Health, plan to vaccinate all children six months to 15 years old, in the Kobe camp, which is most affected of three refugee camps in the Dollo Ado region.

So far three deaths and 47 cases were confirmed in the Kobe camp but health workers suspect at least 13 other deaths there were related to measles. Measles is also suspected as the cause of death in other camps and in the transit center, are according to the U.N. reported.

On Friday, vaccinations began of all children being transferred from a transit center in the region.

Measles, which is spread through contact with bodily fluids, mainly affects children and is not usually fatal unless the person?s health is otherwise compromised.

?The mix of measles and high levels of malnutrition can be fatal,? the U.N. said.

Over the past three months, 29,000 Somali children have died in the famine that has struck five regions in the Horn of Africa.

Vaccines take effect 14 days after administration, so it?s important to manage the suspected measles properly, said health workers.