Measles outbreak fear in Vavuniyaa ‘internment camps’

[TamilNet, Monday, 03 August 2009, 05:02 GMT]
More than 36,000 internally displaced (IDP) children under five years of age, held in internment camps in Vavuniyaa are to be vaccinated against measles under a special child health campaign to counter the sporadic cases of measles which have occurred in the past months and prevent risk of further outbreak, UNICEF sources said.

Human rights organizations and activists describe these camps as ‘internment camps’.

Nearly 100 public health midwives and 1200 volunteers are to be deployed at 30 centres in Vavuniyaa to carry out the emergency vaccination programme in the ‘internment camps’.

“Children under five are the most vulnerable part of a population especially in emergencies; this campaign will help save lives,“ said Desiree Jongsma, Acting UNICEF Country Representative.

She commended the joint efforts by the Ministry of Health Care and Nutrition, the Epidemiology Unit and all partners on this important initiative.

Globally measles remains one of the major causes of childhood illness and a leading cause of child deaths especially in countries undergoing or recovering from emergencies.

Immunization activities, together with vitamin A supplementation, are the most effective means of reducing mortality during and after complex emergencies, UNICEF sources said.

 

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