Cameroon – Anglophone Crisis: Children At Risk Of Contracting Measles As Vaccination Campaigns Stall

The worrisome situation is attributed to the growing number of unimmunised children in the crisis-hit North West and South West regions.

Access to children has been made difficult by the smoking guns.
Measles is still a major health risk in poor and rich countries alike. According to health experts, the situation is the result of the increasing number of children who miss vaccinations because of misinformation or sheer negligence on the part of their parents or the inability to take vaccines to the children in need.

Figures released on April 26, 2019 are based on United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF and World Health Organisation, WHO estimates of the number of children immunised against diseases in 194 countries in 2017.

Globally, 169 million children missed the first dose of vaccine over seven years, the report said. As many as 20 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa did not introduce a second dose, thereby putting more than 17 million infants a year at greater risk of getting measles, UNICEF reported.

Worldwide, some 85 percent of children received the first dose vaccination in 2017, but only 67 per cent had the concluding second dose of the measles vaccine, UNICEF disclosed. Estimates show that between 2010 and 2017, the United States topped the list of the number of unvaccinated children in high-income countries with 2.5 million missing the first dose vaccine. France was at 600,000 and the United Kingdom, UK came third, with 527,000 children not getting their first dose of the vaccine over the seven-year period.

UNICEF supported Cameroon’s Ministry of Public Health to conduct a measles campaign in March and vaccinated 81,391 children aged 9-59 months in Logone and Chari division (Far North region).

The measles virus will always find unvaccinated children. If we are serious about averting the spread of this dangerous but preventable disease, we need to vaccinate every child, in rich and poor countries alike,” said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director. “A single person with measles will be able to infect 90 unvaccinated people.

Measles is highly infectious, even before rashes appear. We must protect children and communities against this potentially very serious, but entirely preventable infectious disease – and the only way to do this is through vaccination,” Prof. Beate Kampmann of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine noted.

In the North West and South West regions, UNICEF has delivered assistance to more than 133,078 people since August 2018. These people reached by UNICEF include those living in ‘hard-to-reach’ areas where access is limited due to the physical or security conditions.

Despite of large access constraints, UNICEF’s intervention continues through programmes in WASH, Health, Child Protection and Communication for Development.

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