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Vaccination campaign for displaced in North Kivu

[DRC] Children  at a feeding center outside Sake town.
Displaced children in North Kivu will be vaccinated and treated for worms (IRIN)

A vaccination campaign targeting thousands of displaced children and pregnant women is to commence next week in a camp in North Kivu, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), health officials said.

"In seven days, at least 22,000 children between the ages of six months and 15 years will be vaccinated against measles," Stéphane Bateyi, the coordinator of the vaccination programme in Goma, the main town in the province, said.

At least 6,400 children aged between one and five years will also be given deworming medicine, Bateyi said on 11 September.

In addition, 2,000 pregnant women are expected to be vaccinated against maternal and neo-natal tetanus during the seven-day exercise beginning 17 September under the government's extended vaccination programme (Programme élargi de vaccination) in partnership with the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF).

The vaccinations will be carried out in Mugunga village, 15km from Goma. The village is housing thousands of internally displaced persons who fled the fighting in Sake between the army and militias loyal to dissident general Laurent Nkunda.

A ceasefire has been brokered between the two warring parties in Sake after the intervention of the UN Mission in the DRC (MONUC). However, the displaced are still hesitant to return to their homes, fearing renewed fighting, said MONUC's military spokesperson, Major Gabriel de Brosses.

De Brosses said military personnel from MONUC had been deployed to the deserted town of Sake to prevent pillaging.

Plans for the vaccination campaign were announced two days after the UN Humanitarian Coordinator, John Holmes, visited the Mugunga camp, where he deplored the poor sanitary conditions and overcrowding, according to the head of the UNICEF office in the eastern zone of the DRC, Julien Harneis.

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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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