Despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic in the country, the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF and other partners have vaccinated over 94 019 children aged 6 to 59 months against measles in Aweil East County, Northern Bahr el Ghazal State to interrupt the transmission.
Following the reported cases of measles in some of the counties in January 2020, the twelve-day campaign from 22 June to 3 July 2020 was organized and led by the Ministry of Health with support from WHO and UNICEF using facility-based services to reach all eligible children no matter where they live.
The campaign that ended on 3 July 2020 was implemented within the national and WHO guidelines for implementing mass vaccination campaigns in the context of COVID-19.
“Strengthening routine immunization would interrupt the spread of the disease and enhance the survival of vulnerable children”, said Dr Olushayo Olu, WHO Representative for South Sudan. “The commitment of health teams to reach as many children as possible in difficult circumstances is really to be commended
South Sudan is among the countries experiencing an upsurge of measles cases. Since the beginning of 2020, measles outbreaks have been confirmed in five counties and one Protection of Civilian sites housing displaced populations, affecting a total of 694 children and claiming at least seven lives with a case fatality rate of 1 per cent.
In South Sudan, vaccinating children has never been harder, however, insecurity and displacement made the logistical arrangement overwhelming. Vaccinators struggled with impossible burdens to find every child of the displaced families scattered in hard-to-reach areas.
WHO, together with the Ministry of Health and partners, has scaled-up its support to immunization programmes by providing financial and logistical support.
The measles vaccination campaign led by the Government of South Sudan is supported by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, WHO, UNICEF and other partners.