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Tsunami disaster – countries in crisis

Immunizing children against measles

© UNICEF India/2005/Das
A child is given measles vaccine during a measles campaign in Nagapattinam, India.

NAGAPATTINAM, India, 5 January 2005 – Children in the worst affected areas in India are undergoing urgent immunization to prevent the spread of deadly diseases. UNICEF says that protecting children against measles in eight affected districts of Tamil Nadu is a top priority.

"Children in relief camps following a disaster tend to lose weight due to improper feeding patterns and psychological trauma,” says Dr. Prakash Gurnani, who is overseeing UNICEF's health and nutrition operations following the disaster. “The density of the population in relief camps also makes the people vulnerable to infection. Measles immunization and vitamin A supplementation are therefore critical interventions to ensure the child's right to survival.”

© UNICEF India/2005/Das
The tsunami generation also receive Vitamin A supplement in relief camps of Nagapattinam, Tamil Nadu, India.

UNICEF is working with the Government and WHO, focusing on the hardest-hit areas of Nagapattinam, Cuddalore and Kanyakumari.

News about the measles and vitamin A campaign is being conveyed by word of mouth and in some areas, on loudspeakers from mosques along with the call for prayers. During the first two days, more than 14,000 children were immunized and given vitamin A. Roughly 90% of the children below the age of five seeking refuge in the relief camps have been immunized against measles and given vitamin A supplementation between 4-9 January.



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