(ERGO)- Fifty one measles patients have been on their sick beds in their homes in Yadagta area, 120 km north of Burao, Togdher region, where there are no health centres.
The patients, including children and elderly receive traditional medication in their homes as the area has no health centres.
Dr Muse Abukar Suudi, coordinator of Somaliland’s ministry of health in northern Sool region (now called Saraar region), told Radio Ergo they sent a team of medical staff to Yadagta, after the local administration reported an outbreak of measles to the ministry.
The team found that 34 of the sick are children, who were not vaccinated during the last vaccination round that was carried out two years ago. The vaccinators did not reach out to the people in the rural areas.
Some of the sick include adults and children from families that were recently displaced in the last six months, after the prolonged drought was unbearable in their previous locations.
Mohamed Warsame Abdi’s children aged three and seven were infected with measles. This drought-hit father told Radio Ergo by phone that he could not afford the $30 he needed to take his children on the long journey to a hospital in Burao.
He suspected measles when he noticed symptoms including rashes and fever. He said he had been taking the children out into the sun and covering them with blankets in the hope that they would get better, but it had not helped. However, they are now recovering after the ministry doctors attended to them.
Since he migrated to Yadagta area six months ago, Mohamed said he had not seen any health teams coming to conduct vaccinations. His family used to own 90 goats, which all died in the drought.
Dr Muse said the ministry was working to contain the outbreak of measles, which spreads easily through coughing and sneezing. They are also conducting awareness campaigns among people in the rural areas, where aid agencies do not reach.
Amina Osman Harbi, a mother in Yadagta, said her two children caught measles around five days ago. She saw rashes, inflamed eyes, running nose and constant fever. Her neighbours lost two children aged three and four and she believes they could have died of measles.
Amina explained that she was applying cooking oil and black seed oil to reduce the symptoms but their recovery was still slow. This mother of four said none of her children had been vaccinated against measles. She had never seen vaccination teams in the area.