WHO and partners support measles vaccination in Borno State, Nigeria

November 2016

WHO and health partners helped vaccinate more than 10 000 children against measles in 2 days in internally displaced persons (IDP) camps in the conflict-affected Borno State.

WHO team carrying out measles vaccination campaign at internally displaced people’s camp in Nigeria
WHO/P Ajello

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.

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.

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

Babagana Abiso,
Director for Disease Control,
Borno State Primary Health Care Development Agency

Millions of children had no access to health services

"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."

Measles vaccination in 18 IDP camps

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.

WHO helps train vaccination teams

WHO also supports the State Government by providing staff and training local health workers to conduct the campaigns. In total, 13 Hard-to-Reach Teams supported by WHO will be involved in this vaccination exercise in all the 18 camps.

Health workers and volunteers supported by WHO and other health partners set up and ran vaccination sites in Muna garage, Customs House and Fariya IDP camps. Community mobilizers and volunteers moved from house to house informing parents and caregivers of the location of nearby vaccination sites and the importance of the measles campaign. The same approach will be replicated in the rest of the camps. Other services that were provided during the campaign included Vitamin A administration and malnutrition screening.

Measles is a highly infectious viral disease and one of the leading causes of death among young children globally. Children with malnutrition are particularly vulnerable to illness and death.