Since 6 June 2016, health clinics in IDP camps in Borno State have seen increasing numbers of measles cases. From early September until late October, 744 suspected cases of measles, and 2 deaths, were reported from WHO-established EWARS reporting sites. The majority of these children had never been vaccinated against measles and most of them were aged less than 5 years.

Nigerian child receiving vaccination/Stacey Hoffman, M.P.H., NCIRD
Nigerian child receiving vaccination/Stacey Hoffman, M.P.H., NCIRD

Disease surveillance data, backed by a survey done in the Custom House and Muna garage IDP camps in Maiduguri, shows that measles vaccine coverage is very low so there is great risk of an outbreak of this highly infectious disease in the camps.

“The conflict in Borno State has left millions of children with limited access to basic health care, and at risk from diseases like measles and polio that can spread rapidly,” says Babagana Abiso, Director for Disease Control, Borno State Primary Health Care Development Agency.

“This campaign will ensure that those communities that have been deprived of services in this long-term conflict are reached.”

The State Ministry of Health, with support from WHO and other partners, aims to reach more than 75 000 children aged 6 months to 15 years of age in 18 IDP camps, including Muna garage, Customs House and Fariya IDP camps where the campaigns have already commenced. By the end of November, the campaign will be expanded to 15 additional IDP camps in Maiduguri Municipal Council and Jere Local Government Area.

“WHO is working with partners on the ground to deliver lifesaving services. Our immediate priorities are to provide emergency interventions like measles and polio vaccination campaigns and respond to the increasing number of malaria and diarrhoeal disease cases,” says Dr Rex Mpazanje, acting WHO Representative in Nigeria.

“WHO has supported the State Ministry of Health to transport over 100 000 doses of the vaccines into Maiduguri and will provide other logistical support to cover any other gaps,” adds Dr Mpazanje.

Read more at World Health Organization