Media centre

Media releases

Monthly updates

Gaza crisis 2009

Contact information

 

Campaign fights infectious diseases in the wake of Gaza's long crisis

© UNICEF oPt/2009/El Baba
A student at the Sulayman Sultan school in Gaza City receives vaccination against measles, mumps and rubella.

By Chris Niles

EAST JERUSALEM, 25 February 2009 – A fragile peace is holding in Gaza since hostilities ended last month. But damage to vital infrastructure is widespread, and primary health care services have been reduced by 90 per cent.

A joint two-week campaign by the Ministry of Health and UNICEF began on 19 February, aiming to vaccinate 120,000 students against measles, mumps and rubella. Funding for the MMR campaign was made possible by the Government of Japan.

 VIDEO: Watch now

Many of the 90,000 people displaced at the height of the crisis have been able to return home, but an unknown number of displaced families are still coping with limited services. Lack of regular health care continues to threaten young lives throughout Gaza, and poor sanitary conditions are contributing to an increase in diarrhoeal diseases.

UNICEF is supporting the Ministry of Health with campaigns to promote the importance of salt iodization, flour fortification and good hygiene practices, in addition to the immunization campaign.

Creating a healthier environment

UNICEF Gaza Head of Office Charles Strickland spoke about the campaign in Sulayman Sultan primary school, located in Gaza City.

"It's a pleasure for UNICEF to continue assisting the Ministry of Health ... in providing accessible health care – particularly, measles, mumps rubella vaccine – to young people here," he said. "It's been a long-standing relationship, dating back more than 10 years, and it's a relationship we see continuing far into the future. We're hoping to help create a more healthy environment for young people."

The campaign targets students in eighth and ninth grades. Besides receiving a dose of vitamin A, students are educated about how to avoid infectious disease.

Eighth grader Naser Alomrane was one of the children lining up for a jab. "I am sure this campaign will help to protect us from many diseases," he said.  

 

 
Search:

unite for children