27 May 2019

Nigeria: 75 Children Dead in Nigeria Measles Eruption

Photo: Marie Frechon/UN
A staff member of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) vaccinates a child against measles in a refugee camp.

Abuja — Nigeria has embarked on one of the biggest vaccination campaigns against measles following the death of at least 75 children from the disease this year.

All 36 States and the Federal Capital Territory are affected but most deaths have occurred at camps housing thousands of civilians displaced by the notorious Boko Haram terror group northeast of the country.

Borno, which is the base of the Islamist militants, is the most affected state with 15 237 suspected measles cases.

Government and humanitarian agencies have vaccinated more than 1,2 million children aged between six months and six years.

"Immunization is the best and safest way to protect our children against this serious but preventable disease," said Alhaji Babagana Abiso, Director for Disease Control at Borno Primary Health Care Development Agency.

The state has mobilised, trained and engaged health workers as well as religious and traditional leaders to ensure that all eligible children in the target areas are vaccinated against measles.

Dr Peter Clement, World Health Organisation (WHO) Nigeria Officer-in-Charge, lamented the spread of the disease.

"WHO is deeply concerned about the large outbreaks of measles across Nigeria since the beginning of the year," Clement said.

Measles is a highly contagious infectious disease caused by a virus.

The infection is fatal, especially on children.

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