Nepal quake: 500,000 children to be vaccinated


  • Nation
  • Monday, 04 May 2015

Soyal Shreshta, 3, receives a measles and rubella vaccination accompanied by his mother Bimala Shrestha in Kota Tole, Kathmandu Valley, Nepal.

PETALING JAYA: The Nepalese Ministry of Health and Population will carry out a campaign to vaccinate more than 500,000 children in Nepal following the recent earthquake in Kathmandu. 

The vaccination campaign, supported by the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) and the World Health Organisation (WHO), will be launched as a protective measure against outbreaks of measles in the informal camps housing victims of the April 25 earthquake. 

Unicef representative in Nepal Tomoo Hozumi said in a statement on Monday that the lack of shelter and sanitation following the earthquake are big risk factors for the spread of diseases, especially in densely populated areas. 

“Measles is very contagious and can potentially be deadly. 

“We fear it could spread very quickly in the often crowded conditions in the improvised camps where many children are living,” said Hozumi.

He said that according to data collected before the earthquake, one in 10 children in Nepal remained unvaccinated. 

“We have been working for decades to eliminate measles in Nepal.  

“Unless we act now, there is a real risk of it re-emerging as a major threat for children, a setback for all of our collective efforts,” he said. 

He said that Unicef is working with its partners to mobilise vaccines and the cold chain facilities needed to store the vaccines at the right temperature to ensure its effective. 

He said that for the first phase of the campaign, teams will be sent to vaccinate children under the age of five in informal shelters in Bhaktapur, Kathmandu and Lalitpur, which are three of the most crowded districts in Kathmandu Valley. 

He added that the campaign would then cover the other 12 districts worst hit by the earthquake.

He said that currently, around 1.7 million children living in the worst hit areas in the country are in need of urgent humanitarian aid. 

“We are doing everything possible to minimise the danger for children who have already been through so much,” he said, adding that Unicef is also working to provide access to clean water and sanitation for the children affected by the earthquake.


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Nepal , Quake , Vaccination , Children

   

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