1.2 million to be immunized as measles threatens malnourished Afghan kids

Kabul, Mar 14 (EFE).- The World Health Organization has started a mass anti-measles campaign in Afghanistan amid a sharp rise in the life-threatening disease for children in the crisis-ridden country.

More than 1.2 million children aged 6–59 months are planned to get vaccinated during the week-long Mar.12–17 campaign.

Around 9200 health workers, volunteers, supervisors, and monitors are mobilized to cover 49 districts in 24 provinces, the UN health agency said in a statement on Monday.

The WHO in Afghanistan is supporting the health ministry and provincial health authorities in the management of the vaccination, including technical advice, training of staff, funding for training, costs for operations, as well as the provision of supplies and logistics.

“This measles immunization campaign is part of the national response measure to stop the spread of the outbreak, save lives of young children and reduce the burden on health systems,” Luo Dapeng, the WHO representative in Afghanistan, said in the statement.

Dapeng joined the campaign in Malek Mohammad Khan District Hospital in Wardak province.

Afghanistan has been experiencing a measles resurgence since 2021.

From January 2021 to Mar.13 this year, there have been 48,366 cases and 250 deaths.

In 2022 alone, there have been over 18,000 cases and 142 children have died of measles in the country.

Measles is an extremely contagious viral disease. Unvaccinated young children are at the highest risk. Severe measles is more likely among poorly nourished young children, especially those with insufficient vitamin A, or those whose immune systems have been weakened by other diseases. EFE


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