News / Health

UNICEF Launches Vaccination Campaign in CAR

Map of Central African RepublicMap of Central African Republic
x
Map of Central African Republic
Map of Central African Republic
Lisa Schlein
The U.N. Children’s Fund says a campaign to vaccinate 550,000 children in the Central African Republic will begin Friday.  UNICEF hopes to make up for lost time in the troubled country, which has endured a year of conflict and chaos. 

According to UNICEF, the past nine months of lawlessness and insecurity have been disastrous for children in the Central African Republic.  It says normal vaccination programs to protect children against killer diseases largely stopped.  This triggered measles outbreaks almost everywhere in the country.

A nationwide measles vaccination campaign officially begins on Friday.  But UNICEF and its partners have already begun immunizing children on a local level.  

Spokeswoman Marixie Mercado said health care workers vaccinated 190,000 children in the capital, Bangui, and in other areas. 

“It is our intent to -- not just our intent, but all of our partners on the ground to reach all of these children because measles, as you know, is incredibly contagious and it is lethal for children living particularly," Mercado explained. "I mean, the conditions that they are in, the displacement, lack of safe water, exposed to all the elements, just extraordinary insecurity.  These are horrible and dangerous conditions for children.” 

Fighting between government troops and the rebel coalition Seleka erupted in December.  Former president Francois Bozize was forced to flee the country after the rebels seized Bangui in March.  The transitional government has been unable to restore law and order.

The United Nations estimates around 400,000 people are displaced by fighting, including 170,000 who have been uprooted in the northwest of the country in recent weeks.  

UNICEF spokeswoman Mercado said many are hiding in the bush out of fear.  More than 60,000 other people fled to neighboring countries.

“UNICEF teams are providing emergency assistance to 5,500 families newly displaced by the recent violence in the northwest of the Central African Republic," Mercado said. "The majority of the displaced are women and children now living in deplorable conditions without access to safe water, nor shelter from the elements ...  At least 250,000 children have lost out on an entire school year, forced marriages and sexual violence against girls is reportedly on the rise, and UNICEF estimates that there are 3,500 children associated with armed groups, up from around 2,000 prior to the conflict.” 

According to UNICEF, its life-saving operations are seriously constrained because of lack of money.  It has received only one-third of its $33 million CAR appeal for 2013.

You May Like

Beijing Warns Hong Kong Protesters, Cracks Down at Home

In suppressing protest news, China reportedly has arrested more than 20 people on the mainland who acted in support of Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters More

Competing Goals Could Frustrate Efforts to Fight Islamic State

As alliances shift and countries re-define themselves, analysts say long-standing goals of some key players in Middle East may soon compete with Western goals More

Child Sexual Exploitation to Worsen in SE Asia

Southeast Asia’s planned economic integration is a key step for boosting the region’s productivity, but carries downsides as well More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid