By Teddy Cambosa
A measles outbreak may soon hit several African countries as vaccination efforts to combat it have recently stalled, new report from the World Health Organization shows.
Statistics from WHO indicate that 15 African countries postponed immunization drives against measles in 2020 to help deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa, the countries that have delayed measles immunization in the continent could experience a resurgence of the disease that affects young children.
“Recent outbreaks of measles, but also yellow fever, cholera, and meningitis all point to worrying gaps in immunization coverage and surveillance in Africa,” Moeti said.
She added that it requires at least 95 percent immunization coverage in a given population to avert a measles outbreak while administering the first dose of the measles-containing vaccine has stagnated around 69 percent in Africa since 2013 and only seven countries achieved the 95 percent coverage in 2019.
“As we fight COVID-19, we cannot leave anyone dangerously exposed to preventable diseases. I urge countries to double down on essential health services, including life-saving vaccination campaigns,” Moeti added.
Teddy Cambosa is a graduating BS Biology student and a former campus journalist at Batangas State University.
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