27 May 2018

MSF - Vaccinates More Than 42,000 Children Against Measles in Qayarah IDP Camps

Following the recent discovery of suspected cases of measles in camps for internally displaced people (IDP) in Qayyarah, more than 42,000 children and adolescents were vaccinated against the potentially deadly virus by the international medical organization Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF), in collaboration with the Qayyarah Department of Health.

The vaccination campaign took place in the eight camps of Qayyarah, known as Airstrip, Jed’ah 1-6 and Haj Ali and was carried out between 30 March and 2 May.

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Measles is an extremely contagious virus usually transmitted through sneezing and coughing and can spread devastatingly fast in overcrowded areas like IDP camps. It mainly affects children, especially those aged five and under and can prove fatal for those who suffer complications and do not receive treatment in time.

The vaccination campaign took place in the eight camps of Qayyarah, known as Airstrip, Jed’ah 1-6 and Haj Ali and was carried out between 30 March and 2 May.

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Measles is an extremely contagious virus usually transmitted through sneezing and coughing and can spread devastatingly fast in overcrowded areas like IDP camps. It mainly affects children, especially those aged five and under and can prove fatal for those who suffer complications and do not receive treatment in time.

“In Nineveh province, the regular national vaccination programme has been disrupted for some years due to conflict, massive amounts of displacement within the population and difficulties in obtaining vaccines,” said Lilian Akoth-Otieno, MSF Medical Team Leader in Qayyarah. “This means that thousands of children and adolescent across northern Iraq could be at risk of easily preventable diseases, not just measles.”

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MSF provided training for 70 people from the camp and the community to conduct the campaign, including nurses and other staff to prepare the vaccines, register the children, ensure the crowd was well controlled, encourage the community to attend and to manage the logistics. These people were divided into four teams.

“The communities living in the camps were absolutely essential for the success of the campaign,” continued Akoth-Otieno. “They worked hand in hand with MSF’s community health workers to ensure that everyone was cooperative with our teams and most importantly brought their children to be vaccinated against measles.”

“Whilst the vaccination campaign in Qayyarah camps is now complete, it’s important that vaccination coverage rates amongst those affected by war and displacement in northern Iraq are monitored closely in order to prevent further outbreaks of measles and other diseases”, ended Juan Prieto, MSF’s Head of Mission in Iraq.

ENDS

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