Anti-Measles Campaign Starts In Dry Southern

Anti-Measles Campaign Starts In Dry Southern Ethiopia



Panafrican News Agency June 23, 2000


Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (PANA) - Two UN agencies Friday launched an anti-measles campaign in drought-stricken areas of South Ethiopia Region, where a total of 2.16 million children are reportedly at risk of contracting the disease.


The World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF are taking part in the campaign together with the Ethiopian health ministry to protect children against measles.


"The disease kills easy victims like those children weakened by hunger," an official f the WHO office here said.


The campaign is targeted to reach children in 18 areas of the region. It will be extended to other regions of Ethiopia late June and early July.


Along with vaccination, children will be given vitamin A, "a micro-nutrient sorely lacking in children's diets throughout Ethiopia," according to WHO.


"The campaign will focus on populations concentrated around food and water distribution points, but will also reinforce the routine expanded programme of immunisation for children activities for longer term protection," the WHO head of mission in Ethiopia, Dr Michel Jancloes, told journalists.


In drought-affected South Ethiopia Region, he said, "water and food are the first eeds for survival."


Protection against diseases like measles should be given to children weakened by hunger because diseases easily victimised such children, he added.


Dr Tesfanesh Belay, head of the family health department in the Ministry of Health, said, "if there is malnutrition, there is low resistance and measles can flare up."


The anti-measles campaign in Ethiopia, funded by UNICEF and coordinated by WHO, is planned to take a month.