23 November 2012

Sudan: Vaccination Campaigns Begin in Darfur

Photo: Norbert Domy/Sanofi Pasteur
A yellow fever vaccination drive (file photo).

Darfur — Vaccination campaigns against yellow fever are beginning throughout Darfur this weekend.

South Darfur

South Darfur's Health Minister Ahmed al-Tayyeb Ibrahim told Radio Dabanga that a vaccination campaign was launched on Friday in the state, amid complaints from citizens concerning its delay.

Ibrahim explained the ministry's strategy is to concentrate on the two localities most affected by the disease, East Jebel Marra and Kass, and then move on to other parts.

He stressed the campaign will continue without a time limit, until everyone is vaccinated.

The minister decalred that the state has not registered new cases of contamination or deaths caused by the yellow fever recently. He revealed that according to the latest statistics, a total of 68 people were infected with the disease and 17 have died.

Central Darfur

Issa Mohamed Musa Yusuf, minister of health of Central Darfur, announced that vaccination in the state will begin on Saturday at 10am. He appealed to all citizens, especially the ones from the most affected localities ─Nertiti, Wadi Saleh, Azum and Zalingei─ to visit health centers and get vaccinated.

The minister declared the operation will last for 12 days in the state, beginning on Saturday and finishing on 5 December.

Yusuf told Radio Dabanga that the campaign's strategy is to send ambulatory, fixed and temporary teams to the most affected areas, in addition to setting up health and unit centers.

Regarding complaints from citizens about the delay of the state to start the vaccination campaign, the minister explained this happened due to the remoteness of Central Darfur.

He said it is difficult for medical teams to reach it and that all the support they received came via the airport of El-Geneina, West Darfur. These included trainings, syringes and vaccines' doses, he added.

The number of deaths caused by yellow fever in Central Darfur, reportedly the most affected state, reached 76 Yusuf said, while 337 people were infected.

'Vaccination campaign not enough'

On a related note, Yusuf pointed out that infectious mosquitoes carry the disease in their eggs, which when buried in the ground may be contagious for 10 years still.

The minister stated that only a vaccination campaign to combat yellow fever is not enough, stressing to citizens and medical teams that homes must be sprayed.

In addition, he warned about the importance that everyone carries their yellow fever cards after the completion of the vaccination campaign and that children's cards must be kept.

West Darfur

In West Darfur, Minister of Health Ahmed Ishaq Yaqub, told Radio Dabanga that the vaccination campaign will be launched on Friday in mosques. This way, he explained, citizens can reach vaccination posts more easily.

Yaqub reiterated that the population of West Darfur has not complained about lack of vaccines, pointing out that health centers are almost empty and that the operation is going well.

Lastly, the minister declared that a total of 48 people died of yellow fever in West Darfur and another 161 were infected.

World Health Organisation

The World Health Organisation (WHO) announced on Friday it will support the government of Sudan in conducting field investigations and in assessing the risk of the spread of yellow fever in the country.

According to the WHO, the incidence of yellow fever has increased over the past 20 years due to low immunity, deforestation, urbanization, population movements and climate change.

Experts from the organization stressed that vaccination is the most important preventive measure against yellow fever. They explained that the vaccine used against the disease is safe, inexpensive and highly effective.

They also declared that once vaccinated, citizens will be protected against the disease for a period of 30 to 35 years and that 95% of the people are immune to the disease a week after receiving the shots.

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