News / Africa

Alarming Rise of Measles Deaths in Dollo Ado Refugee Complex

A Somali child refugee receives a vaccine for measles at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) transit centre in Dolo Ado near the Ethiopia-Somalia border, August 11, 2011
A Somali child refugee receives a vaccine for measles at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) transit centre in Dolo Ado near the Ethiopia-Somalia border, August 11, 2011

The United Nations refugee agency reports death rates in one of four refugee camps at the Dollo Ado complex in Ethiopia have reached alarming levels.  The UNHCR says it suspects a combination of measles and malnutrition brought on by famine is the major cause of death.

More than 118,000 Somalis live at the Dollo Ado refugee complex in Ethiopia.  More than 78,000 of these refugees, fleeing drought and famine, have arrived in Dollo Ado this year.

U.N. refugee spokesman, Adrian Edwards, says an assessment of mortality finds a sharp rise in death rates in one of the four camps at Dollo Ado.

“Since the Kobe refugee camp opened in June, an average of 10 children under the age of five have been dying each day.  An outbreak of suspected measles, combined with high rates of acute malnutrition is thought to be the major cause of death.  Across all Dollo Ado sites, 148 cases and 11 deaths due to suspected measles have been reported.  This deadly combination has historically caused similar death rates in previous famine crises in this region,” Edwards stated. 

Children who are healthy generally do not die of measles.  But, for those who are malnourished, this preventable disease can be fatal.  And, so it is proving to be for many of the acutely malnourished Somali children, whose health has been severely weakened due to drought and famine.

Kobe houses 25,000 Somali refugees.  The UNHCR and its partners on Monday completed a mass vaccination campaign against measles.  All children between the ages of six months and 15 years were immunized against this killer disease.  

Edwards says vaccination campaigns will begin in other camps in the coming days.  “There is a need to encourage parents to return with their children to health centers for continued treatment for malnutrition, and to actively identify children who are sick to ensure they receive immediate help.  UNHCR is already working with refugee leaders and outreach workers to raise awareness of measles symptoms and hygiene promotion,” he said. 

Most of the refugees arriving from Somalia are from rural areas.  UNHCR spokesman Edwards says the camps in Ethiopia may be the first time the Somalis have ever gone to a health care facility.  He says it is crucial to make the refugees aware of the health and nutrition programs that are available to them.

He says the UNHCR, together with the Ethiopian government and other partners, are working to improve nutrition, water supply and sanitation in the camps.  He says this can help bring down the high mortality rate.  

Measles is a highly contagious disease.  The UNHCR says action to prevent people from dying of this disease is the number one priority facing aid agencies.  




You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs