At total of 15 children have died in South Sudan after being given contaminated measles vaccines. Health officials said that the vaccines had been improperly refrigerated and were also administered by an untrained team.
The UN has appealed for more funding to help nearly two million people who have fled South Sudan. A World Food Programme (WFP) official called their suffering “unimaginable.” (15.05.2017)
A new study has found that cases of the highly contagious disease have jumped significantly in the past year. Adults are poorly informed about their own vulnerability, the report found. (24.04.2017)
Children in rural South Sudan died as a result of a bungled vaccination campaign to combat measles, the United Nations and South Sudan’s government announced on Friday.
South Sudanese Health Minister Riek Gai Kok expressed “deep regret and sadness” at the deaths of the 15 children, who lived in the rural, south-eastern village of Kapoeta.
An investigation into the deaths supported by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN children’s fund UNICEF found that the children died as a result of “the administration of a contaminated vaccine.”
Around 300 children up to 5-years-old were treated during the four-day campaign which saw the local team using a single reconstitution syringe to mix multiple vaccine vials. The UNICEF-supplied vaccines were also kept in a building with inadequate refrigeration.
Another 32 children suffered from fever, vomiting, and diarrhea, but were able to recover from their symptoms, a joint statement from the WHO and UNICEF said.
Children administering vaccines
Although local teams had been trained by development partners and the WHO, the investigation showed that local officials failed to follow immunization guidelines.
“We have to look into why the training was not passed on to the teams on the ground,” said WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic in Geneva.