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Press release

First mass measles vaccination in 3 years in Tubmanburg, Liberia

MONROVIA, 29 AUGUST 2003 - The first mass immunization measles campaign following the cessation of hostilities in Liberia will be launched today in Tubmanburg, Bomi County, by UNICEF and its partners.   Tubmanburg is a base of the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD), one of the two rebel groups in Liberia, and is home to thousands of displaced persons, the majority of whom are women and children, from Gbarpolu and Lofa Counties.

While Bomi County has been largely inaccessible for immunization services since the end of February 2003, Gparpolu and Lofa Counties have had no access to immunization since 2000.

The seven-day campaign in Tubmanburg is targeting 42,000 children, aged between six months and 15 years.  Three mobile immunization teams will administer the measles vaccines. Children aged six months to five years will also receive Vitamin A to help build up resistance against diseases such as measles, respiratory tract infection, and diarrhoea.

To ensure the success of the campaign. UNICEF has enlisted the support of opinion leaders and health workers in Tubmanburg in the mobilization and sensitization of the local population.

 “Children have the right to basic health care and we will go wherever they are to help improve their situation and conditions,” said UNICEF Liberia Representative, Dr. Cyrille Niameogo. “This immunization campaign in a rebel held area is a significant step to try to reach all the Liberian children outside Monrovia. Together with WHO, the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and our other partners, we will extend immunization and other services to other areas as security permits.”

The decision to implement an emergency measles campaign follows an interagency assessment mission to Tubmanburg earlier in the week when the team observed the precarious health situation and learned about the outbreak of measles in the area.

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For further information, please contact

Durudee Sirichanya, Communication Officer,
UNICEF Liberia, dsirichanya@unicef.org  06-524978

MacArthur S. Hill, Programme Communication Officer,
UNICEF Liberia, mhill@unicef.org  06-524978




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