UN agencies aid S. Africa’s mass vaccinations against measles outbreak

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The UN team in South Africa is supporting government mass vaccination efforts to quell a continuing measles outbreak, a UN spokesman said.

Resident Coordinator Nelson Muffuh is leading the UN effort following the measles outbreak in five of the country’s nine provinces, said Stephane Dujarric, the chief spokesperson of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

 “Our team on the ground is working with authorities on mass vaccinations.”

The World Health Organisation has deployed technical experts for an active response to the outbreak, including case investigations, Dujarric said.

He said sensitisation campaigns to prepare the public in non-affected provinces will launch in the next few weeks.

Accordingly to him, UN Children’s Fund truck continues to travel in impacted provinces to help increase vaccinations.

UN agencies continue their communications drive on social media, public health centers, local communities, and traditional media to encourage vaccination against measles.

“Our colleagues told us that the next couple of weeks will be particularly critical, with the reopening of schools, kicking off a new academic year,” the spokesman said.

South Africa’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) reported it had found 397 measles patients last week.

“The number of cases continues to increase daily as blood and throat swabs are submitted to the NICD.”

While the age range of laboratory-confirmed cases ranged from two months to 60 years old, the majority of cases, 40 per cent, were in the five to nine year age group.

 Followed by 29 per cent in the one to four year age group and 17 per cent in the 10-14-year age group, the NICD said.  (Xinhua/NAN)(

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