News / Africa

Measles Reported Among South Sudanese Refugees in Uganda

South Sudanese refugees line up for food at the Tzaipi refugee camp in Adjumani, 471 km (293 miles) north of Uganda's capital Kampala, Jan. 17, 2014.
South Sudanese refugees line up for food at the Tzaipi refugee camp in Adjumani, 471 km (293 miles) north of Uganda's capital Kampala, Jan. 17, 2014.
Lisa Schlein
The U.N. refugee agency is starting a mass immunization campaign to contain the spread of measles among South Sudanese refugees in northern Uganda.  The Ugandan Ministry of Health confirms an outbreak of this killer disease among the more than 59,000 South Sudanese who crossed the border since fighting erupted across South Sudan last month.  

So far, the Ugandan Ministry of Health reports it has registered five cases of measles, and three suspected cases among refugees in the Arua area, near the border with South Sudan.  

The U.N. refugee agency says the immunization campaign will cover all refugee and Ugandan children in the Arua and Adjumani districts under age 15.

UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards says there will be a concerted effort to reach all newly-arriving refugee children after this mass vaccination campaign ends.  He says the children will be systematically screened to make sure they all are protected.

“We are still receiving around about 250 refugees a day at the reception center in Adjumani.  Recent arrivals appearing visibly weaker-much less luggage.  It appears people are coming from rather further afield in South Sudan than we have had until now," said Edwards.

Edwards says the outbreak of measles among this vulnerable group is not altogether surprising.  He tells VOA conditions in the overcrowded, squalid transit camps are likely to be a breeding ground for the spread of disease.  

He says the areas in northern Uganda to which the South Sudanese refugees are fleeing are designed to cope with a few hundred people - not the many thousands who have arrived.

“This has put enormous pressure on the areas into which people come-pressures of all kinds.  In simply housing people, in getting sanitation and water there, health risks have been a major concern in this environment.  I think in that sense, it is not entirely surprising that we are seeing something like this happening," he said.

At the moment, he says measles is only being reported from Uganda.  He says no similar outbreaks have been reported from other countries to which refugees are fleeing.  

The UNHCR reports more than 100,000 South Sudanese have entered Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Sudan since mid-December.

South Sudan’s government and rebels signed a ceasefire agreement in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa on Thursday.  They have pledged to stop the fighting, which has killed thousands of people, within 24 hours.  The UNHCR welcomed the ceasefire, though rebels Friday accused the government of breaking it.

It says it hopes the ceasefire will be implemented quickly to avert further displacement within and outside the country.  In the meantime, UNHCR spokesman Edwards says his agency continues to hear reports from inside South Sudan of more people preparing to cross into Uganda.

You May Like

Changing Under Pressure, IS ‘Potent’ as Ever

US intel officials describe Ramadi's fall as concerning, but say it isn't emblematic of larger effort to degrade IS capabilities More

Nigeria Fuel Shortage Shows Fragility of Africa’s Oil Giant

Although it is the largest oil producer in Africa, country has nearly ran out of fuel it needs to power its generators, cars and airplanes over the past week More

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Cari
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
May 27, 2015 9:31 PM
Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
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.

VOA Blogs