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News: Amid spread of outbreaks UN agencies, Ethiopia kick off countrywide measles vaccination targeting more than 15 m children

Two-year-old Nunu gets vaccinated for measles in Haik town, Amhara region. Picture & info: UNICEF Ethiopia

Addis Abeba – UN agencies, the Ethiopian authorities and other partners kicked off on Friday, a nationwide integrated measles vaccination campaign targeting more than 15 million children.

Recent reports in Ethiopia show measles outbreaks spreading especially in IDP sites and areas affected by the ongoing drought crisis. Last summer, measles outbreak was reported in Berehet and Minjar woredas in North Shewa Zone of Amhara Region as well as in two IDP sites (China camp and Woinshet IDP site) in Debre Birhan city. Similarily, Chickenpox cases were also reported in Weleh IDP site in Waghemra Zone.

The vaccination campaigns that kicked off yesterday are planned to take place across the country for a total of 15.5 million youngsters aged nine to 59 months, “including in hard-to-reach places affected by drought and conflict,” the UN said.  

Measles outbreak in 2020 had left more than 12, 000 people affected in 36 zones of 5 regions across Ethiopia. “Oromia region bore the brunt of the outbreaks, with 67 per cent of cases, followed by Somali with 21 per cent,” the UN said then. At least five people died of the outbreak in east Wellega zone alone, whereas at least 30 people died in March of the same year in other parts of Oromia region. Twelve people were reported to have died of the outbreak the same year in Somali region.

Measles, which is preventable, remains a major health problem in Ethiopia, with several outbreaks reported in different parts of the country, according to the UN health body, WHO. AS

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