U.N. planning measles vaccination campaign in Ethiopia

Health officials from the United Nations plan to assist in the vaccination of all children between the ages of six months to 15 years against the measles in Ethiopia’s Kobe refugee camp.

Only a short time after the Measles Initiative warned about decreased funding for measles eradication projects, the U.N. reported a potentially major measles outbreak among those who had fled Somalia’s drought and famine. The Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said that refugee children are the most at risk for developing the disease, according to

Aid workers with the UNHCR began vaccination efforts immediately in the camp where the infections first occurred. Children are at particular risk from measles because their bodies are still in development.

Measles is known to cause pneumonia, malnutrition, dehydration and a host of secondary infections. Malnourished children already have weakened immune systems, making them extremely vulnerable.

Ethiopia’s Kobe camp is considered to be the worst-affected of the Somali refugee camps. The vaccination drive will consist of U.N. efforts in combination with other nongovernmental agencies and target polio as well.

There have been a total of 47 confirmed cases of the measles at the Kobe camp and three deaths reported within the last week. The camp is currently providing emergency shelter for at least 25,000 people.

“We must act now, urgently and decisively, to arrest and turn around this situation,” Moses Okello, the UNHCR’S Ethiopia representative, said, according to