Outbreak of measles kills dozens of children in Yemen

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A child receives nutritional supplements in Yemen

An outbreak of measles in Yemen has killed over 177 children and left more than  4,000 infected over the past few months, according to the United Nations Children fund UNICEF.

The fund says a near breakdown of health services during Yemen's political crisis and severe malnutrition amongst children under the age of five were the leading factors behind the outbreak.

UNICEF in collaboration with the World Health Organization(WHO) and the Yemeni Ministry of Health will on Saturday launch a major measles vaccination campaign in the country aimed at reaching over 8 million children under the age of five.

Marixie Mercado from UNICEF says over 1.2 million children will also benefit from Polio vaccine and vitamin A supplement.

"This huge increase in measles is representative of the damage done by the disruption in social services due to the unrest in 2011. This measles outbreak is folding in a potential lethal context with levels of malnutrition in parts of the country close to rates seen in Afghanistan or Somalia. One in five children is severely acutely malnourished and 58 per cent are stunted or chronically malnourished and there is on going displacement with crowded conditions in camps all which add to the risk of this measles epidemic spreading even more."

Duration 38"

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