Thousands of Somali children face death due to measles: UNICEF

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A child being screened at Madina Maternal Child Health centre in Mogadishu, Somalia. WHO/Somalia/P. Vicentini

Outbreaks of measles in several regions in Somalia have left thousands of children at risk of disability or death according to the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF).

In March and April 2014, there were over 1350 suspected cases of measles, four times the number seen during the same period last year.

UNICEF says many children could die if they are not vaccinated against the highly contagious disease.

The UN says that a nationwide measles campaigns need to be urgently conducted to prevent thousands of avoidable deaths.

Stephane Dujarric is the Spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General.

"UNICEF reports that malnourished children, seen in high numbers in Somalia, are more susceptible to measles. The UN agencies have appealed for $9 million to conduct a nation-wide vaccination campaign targeting about five million children and youth under the age of 15."  (15″)

Two decades of conflict have decimated Somalia's health sector, leaving the country with some of the worst health and nutrition indicators in the world.

An estimated one in five children dies before their fifth birthday – with measles as one of the main causes.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 1’19″

 

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