News / Health

    Mass Measles Vaccination Campaign For Syrian Children Underway

    Student receives a measles vaccine injection in Switzerland on March 23, 2009.
    Student receives a measles vaccine injection in Switzerland on March 23, 2009.

    Location

    M20, Syria
    Lisa Schlein
    U.N. and international aid agencies are stepping up a vaccination campaign in Syria and neighboring countries to contain measles outbreaks in the region.  The U.N. Children's Fund says many Syrian children are at risk of killer diseases because they are not receiving routine immunizations.  
     
    The U.N. Children’s Fund reports hundreds of cases of measles have broken out among children in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey over the past year.  In the case of Turkey, UNICEF says some 3,000 to 4,000 measles cases have been reported across the country, including 300 among Syrian refugees.
     
    UNICEF spokeswoman Marixie Mercado said so far, no child has died from measles, but that could change at any time.   
     
    “The assessment is that these outbreaks have been contained thus far in Syria and across the region.  In large part, also because of an immunization campaign last year that reached 1.3 million children with measles vaccination and 1.5 million children with polio vaccination," said Mercado. "But the concern is very real.  These are conditions that are conducive to the spread of disease and things are not getting any better for the Syrians either inside of the country or outside.”   
     
    The United Nations reports some four-and-one-quarter million people are displaced inside Syria and more than 1.4 million Syrian refugees have fled into neighboring Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Turkey and Egypt.  It says some 8,000 Syrians are fleeing the conflict in their country daily.
     
    Mercado says nearly half of the displaced are children.  She says large population movements and the breakdown of regular health services are making children susceptible to killer diseases like measles no matter where they are.

    She says living conditions for displaced children in Syria are dreadful.
     
    “The vast majority of whom are now living in camped, overcrowded, unsanitary conditions where diseases can rapidly spread," said Mercado. "The routine immunization system has been hit hard.  The comprehensive numbers on routine immunization coverage are unavailable because reporting has broken down.  The last routine vaccination reporting available is from January and February this year from just six out of 14 governorates in Syria.  The figures there show coverage to be around 60 percent compared with coverage of around 95 percent across the country prior to the crisis.”   
     
    Mercado says it is extremely difficult to run a mass measles campaign in a region already struggling to provide humanitarian assistance to millions of people affected by the Syrian crisis.  She says UNICEF is working with the health ministries, the World Health Organization and other partners to protect children against disease.
     
    In Syria, she says health ministry teams, with the support of UNICEF and WHO, recently vaccinated some 550,000 children as part of a national campaign targeting 2.5 million children.  She says access to some areas is not possible because of insecurity.  For example, she notes that in Homs earlier this month, a mobile health team was shot at seven times, injuring three doctors.
     
    Despite such setbacks, she says health workers are continuing their campaign to vaccinate hundreds of thousands of Syrian children against measles throughout the region.

    You May Like

    Native Americans Ask: What About Our Water Supply?

    They say they have been facing a dangerous water contaminant for decades - uranium – but the problem has received far less attention than water contamination by lead in Flint, Michigan

    Pakistan's President Urges Nation Not to Celebrate Valentine's Day

    Mamnoon Hussain criticizes Valentine's Day, which falls on Sunday this year, as a Western import that threatens to undermine the Islamic values of Pakistan

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Anonymous
    April 30, 2013 6:18 PM
    "Vaccination..."??? - Muslim AIDS

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.