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Measles affects children in north

A measles outbreak among internally displaced people (IDP) in the north of Afghanistan, was expected to be “in the thousands”, a spokesperson for the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan (SCA) in Peshawar told IRIN on Thursday.

Dr Shbon Roohullah, chief technical adviser for the SAC said that of the 80,000 internally displaced Afghans fleeing fighting in the north, a significant number, estimated to be in the thousands had been detected with measles. Earlier this year at least 250 children in the Taker and Badakshan provinces had died in a measles outbreak. “When there is a death rate of 250, it follows that the number of incidences is in the thousands - maybe about three or four thousand,” Dr Roohullah told IRIN.
A joint measles and polio eradication campaign had been conducted in June this year when around 30,000 children were vaccinated and a second campaign began this week. However, Dr Roohullah called the latest outbreak “devastating” and urged more donor support to eradicate the disease. “This is one area that is preventable. We can do something to stop it but only through proper coordination.”

The SAC currently runs 41 vaccination centres in Afghanistan in the provinces of Taker, Badakshan, Kunduz and Baghlan. It is also carrying out a malnutrition survey among children visiting the clinics and is distributing high protein biscuits to children and pregnant women.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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