Efforts continue to protect children against measles
Muzaffarabad, December 6: In an emergency situation, the threat of a measles outbreak needs to be addressed as the single highest health priority for children. In previous emergency situations assessments tell us that up to 25 percent of under-5 children who died, died from measles.
In the aftermath of the October 8
This overall long term plan is for a catchment area extending beyond the critically affected earthquake areas of NWFP and
For all those under 5 years the plan is that they receive Vitamin A supplementation as well, as this can reduce under-5 child mortality from all causes, including a 23 percent reduction of respiratory infection mortality and up to 50 percent reduction of mortality from measles
To date (end November) 731,330 children have been reached by the campaign in the two affected areas.
Launched on November 12, the two week campaign covered the whole of
The campaign involved the deployment of 582 two-person teams of vaccinators. The Pakistani military undertook to drop the teams in the valleys by helicopter, leaving them to walk between isolated hamlets, and then arranged to pick them from a forward location after a few days.
UNICEF support covered vaccine procurement, cold chain management and the provision of vaccine carriers and syringes. Along with the measles vaccination, the dose of vitamin-A and an extra dose of oral polio vaccine (OPV) was administered to all under-5 children. The OPV is in order to reinforce
In NWFP measles vaccination coverage as of end November is 228,897 (125,626 receiving Vitamin A supplementation.)
In recent days
Further “mop up” activities in these camps are being put in place to reach the remaining children not yet vaccinated, along with renewed measures for outlying communities. The establishment of fixed points for immunization (routine immunization, too as part of EPI) in the field hospitals and Basic Health Units now set up in the camps, and in some urban and rural locations, will help to achieve comprehensive coverage, beyond that possible with the mobile teams who arrive and then have to leave to move on.