Yemen To Launch Measles Vaccination Campaign After Increase In Number Of Cases, Deaths

“Measles has killed 126 children in Yemen since mid-2011, a consequence of the breakdown of basic health services during the year-long political crisis,” and “[i]n response … , the Yemeni government has appealed for international assistance and an outbreak-response vaccination campaign will begin in the hardest-hit regions on 10 March,” IRIN reports. Since mid-2011, “3,767 cases of measles have been confirmed, resulting in 126 deaths,” according to the Ministry of Health, whereas “in the three years from the beginning of 2007 until the end of 2009, the ministry reported a total of 211 cases and no deaths due to measles,” the news service notes.

Besides conflict, high levels of malnutrition are worsening the situation, as “[s]evere measles is more likely to develop among poorly nourished children,” according to IRIN. UNICEF, in partnership with the Ministry of Health, the WHO, and USAID, plans to launch the first phase of a $9 million “vaccination campaign on 10 March in seven of the worst-affected governorates,” attempting to reach eight million children, IRIN notes (3/5).