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Fiji supports measles outbreak response efforts in Solomon Islands by making 50,000 Measles and Rubella Vaccines available

© aleamana
Satellite clinics located at the Art Gallery, Burns Creek Field

HONIARA, 15 September 2014 - Following efforts by the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) and other partners to accelerate a nation- wide measles campaign, UNICEF this week air lifted to Honiara a total of 50,000 doses of Measles and Rubella (MR) vaccines with diluents worth $277,970 SBD ($38,000 USD). This is in addition to the 65,000 MR doses shipped in August. Another 200,000 MR vaccines are scheduled to arrive by next week.

The 50,000 MR doses, made available by the Government of Fiji Ministry of Health, will be distributed to Guadalcanal, Malaita, Central Islands and Western Province to support measles campaigns in these respective provinces. It is expected that other provinces will follow suit. 

UNICEF Pacific Representative, Dr. Karen Allen said “This is an excellent example of South-South cooperation” and expressed her gratitude to the Fiji Ministry of Health for a prompt response. “It is crucial that response efforts out-pace the spread of this highly infectious disease and this good neighborly action will help MHMS achieve this; and we are sure MHMS will replenish to Fiji as soon as they can.”

The outbreak has already caused two deaths in children under three months of age and one adult with 1308 cases reported throughout the country thus far. 

“Measles can cause death and disability, including blindness, brain damage and deafness. It spreads by coughing, spitting, sneezing and over- crowding. Therefore caretakers should bring their children as young as 6 months – and adults up to 30 years should come to a vaccination site urgently and receive vaccination for free,” said Dr. Allen. 

Meanwhile Dr. Karen congratulated MHMS, WHO, Honiara City Council and other health partners for the tremendous effort rendered towards combating the spread of measles in Honiara. “It is great to know that the MR vaccination coverage has reached majority of the target population in Honiara. This is a huge achievement and hopefully the same success will also be for the other provinces,” she said.

UNICEF is also providing support to Health Promotions Unit with Radio Spots, live talk back shows on Sunday and social mobilization activities.

“We will continue to work with WHO to provide support to the Government of Solomon Islands and the region to respond to outbreak and reduce unnecessary sufferings and deaths,” said Dr. Allen, “and we would also like to thank the Governments of Australia and New Zealand who have supported us.”

About UNICEF

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do.  Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. For more information about UNICEF and our work in the Pacific visit: http://www.unicefpacific.org

For more information, please contact atahu@unicef.org


 

 
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