Somalia measles outbreak prompts mass public health campaign
The International Organization for Migration (IOM), the UN migration agency announced, along with support with the Government of Japan, launched a mass public health campaign to contain an ongoing measles outbreak in Kismayo, Somalia.
Through TV and radio, IOM, the Somali government and health partners are disseminating a series of public messages about measles. The messages will sensitize families about risk factors, etiology, symptoms, signs and complications of the disease. The six-day campaign is estimated to reach over 2,000 people in the most affected communities, as well as surrounding areas.
In addition, IOM-trained community health workers are conducting house-to-house visits with behavior change communication tools designed to achieve improved health-seeking behaviors and immunization of vaccine-preventable diseases.
“Many children who are brought to the hospital are in a dire situation due to traditional beliefs that lead communities to believe medical treatment adversely affects measles patients. Families still believe that the best treatment for measles is cauterization,” said IOM Somalia Health Program Coordinator Dr. Chaiki Ito.
“Measles is one of the major causes of Somalia’s high child mortality rate. Since September 2016, the outbreak has affected more than 541 children in Kismayo. We are doing the best we can, but are calling for urgent intervention from the international community,” explained Dr. Ahmed Mohamed Ahmed, Director General of the Ministry of Health in Kismayo, Jubbaland, State of Somalia.