AFRICA/GUINEA – A campaign to vaccinate 400,000 children against measles

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Conakry (Agenzia Fides) – A vaccination campaign has begun against measles in Guinea to curb the epidemic declared by the national government on January 14. 1105 suspected cases including 68 confirmed have already been recorded and this has caused the fear of a rapid spread of the infection. "Measles is one of the most contagious diseases and can spread in a flash. It mainly affects children and can lead to serious medical complications", explains the responsible of the mission of the NGO Doctors Without Borders in Conakry who is coordinating the campaign. In collaboration with the Ministry of Health, DWB has sent 32 teams in the districts of Matam, Matoto and Ratoma. Strategically located close to the people who need aid, in community centers, private homes and public spaces, DWB teams plan to vaccinate 394 000 children from 6 to 10 years of age. The treatment is completely free of charge. The NGO estimates that during the epidemic about 50 children affected by the pandemic will risk developing serious and potentially life-threatening complications. Measles can be prevented through safe and effective vaccine which, when it becomes part of a regular vaccination program, is administered to all children from the age of 9 months. But overall, only 37 % of children in Guinea have received both doses necessary to ensure full protection. Even in Conakry, vaccination coverage remains insufficient, because only 80% of the population has been vaccinated. As part of this vaccination campaign a free diagnosis to children affected by the disease is also provided, so that they can be taken care of, in addition to free medical care for any complications. (AP) ( Agenzia Fides 06/03/2014)