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Ethiopia: Nationwide measles vaccination campaign integrates other live-saving interventions

UN agencies, the Ethiopian authorities and partners kicked off on Friday, a nationwide integrated measles vaccination campaign targeting more than15 million children.

Announcing the news, the World Health Organization(WHO) said that it hasalreadybeguncontactingcommunities to ensure a smooth operation.

Measles, which is preventable,remains a major health problemin Ethiopia,withseveral outbreaksreportedin different parts of the country, the UN health agencysaid.

Vaccinations areplanned across the nation for atotal of15.5 million youngsters agednine to59 months, includinginhard-to-reachplaces affected bydrought and conflict.

Integrating other interventions

In addition, and together with the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) and GAVI, theVaccineAlliance, WHOis integrating in the campaign, a range of otherlifesaving services.

These includeCOVID-19jabs andcatch-up immunizationsfor under-vaccinated children,screening for acute malnutrition,vitamin A drops and deworming against intestinal parasites.

On behalf of immunization partners in the country, Paul Mainuka, Acting Head of WHO Ethiopia Immunization, Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health Cluster, congratulated the Ministry of Health for the initiative to reduce the risk of measles outbreaks and bring ongoing eruptions to an end, "thus protecting children from preventable sickness and death caused by measles".

"It is also commendable that the campaign is integrated with other live-saving interventions", he added.

Measles reduction strategy

In Ethiopia, measles remains a major health problem with several outbreaks occurring in different parts of the country.

To address this, Ethiopia adopted and began implementing key strategies to reduce the burden and head towards elimination.

Measures include strengthening routine and supplementary immunizations, surveillance, and case management.

WHO has supported the campaign financially and technically, and has deployed more than 100 experts for pre-, intra- and post-campaign activities, including monitoring the quality of services.

Poor nutrition equals poor health

Nutrition-related health problems are among the top causes of morbidity and mortality in children in developing countries, including Ethiopia.

And many women there suffer from obstetric fistula – a devastating condition that impacts the health, social and economic well-being of those affected and their families.

During the vaccination campaign, medical workers also plan to help these women following childbirth and identify clubfoot in children.

These interventions will provide opportunities to receive much-needed treatment for obstetric fistula and avoid the life-long disability for children, as club foot is correctable when detected and treated early.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of UN News.
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