Children vaccinated as measles spreads in central Somalia

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Keydka sawirrada/Ergo Photo | File photo/Ergo

Radio Ergo 08 May, 2017 MUDUG


(ERGO) - A measles vaccination campaign has reached around 15,000 children, mostly from pastoralist families displaced by the drought, in Mudug region in central Somalia.

Mahad Abi Isse, head of measles vaccinations at the ministry of health of Galmudug, told Radio Ergo that measles has been spreading rapidly in the state. The ministry sent vaccination teams to south Galkayo and Hobyo towns, and villages of Wargalo, Do’ol, Sadeh-higlo, Wisil, Gawan, Dagari, Dhure, El-gula, Bitale, Bandiradley and Galinsor.

UNICEF supported the exercise and so far up to 15,000 of the 20,000 children targeted have been vaccinated.

Most of the children are those of families displaced by the drought and many have migrated more than once so tracing them has been challenging.

Farhiyo Mohamed Isse, an official at Galkayo south hospital, told Radio Ergo that one of the worst villages affected in Mudug was Dhure, 65 km from Galkayo, from where the hospital had admitted 50 children with measles in the past two months.

Khadijo Shuke Farah had her two children vaccinated for the first time last week when the vaccination team came to Dhure. She told Radio Ergo that she realized she needed to protect her two year-old son and three-year-old daughter because some of the neighbours’ children were sick.

“The health workers told me that this disease measles has no cure but can be prevented, therefore I decided to vaccinate my children to save them,” Khadijo said.

She lost 42 goats to the drought and is trying to save her last eight animals. As a separated single mother she depends on income she gets from her shop selling non-food item in the village, and so did not migrate.

Abdinoor Warsame Igal, another resident of Dhure, told Radio Ergo the vaccination teams told them that measles can causes disabilities in children.  Seven of his 10 children were vaccinated in the exercise and he hopes the campaign will stop the disease spreading further.

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