THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2016

UNICEF helps Guinea vaccinate children against measles

UNICEF and the government of Guinea are collaborating in an emergency measles vaccination campaign with the goal of vaccinating more than 1.7 million children against the disease, UNICEF said on Tuesday.

On Monday, Guinea's Ministry of Health announced there were more than 1,300 new suspected cases of measles and five child deaths since the start of 2014. Over the past two weeks, UNICEF and its partners provided transportation to more than two million doses of vaccines, needles and other items in Guinea in an effort to stop measles from spreading.

"In Guinea where three out of five children are not fully vaccinated, measles can have a devastating impact as it spreads quickly and kills children," Mohamed Ag Ayoya, the UNICEF representative in Guinea, said. "UNICEF has worked quickly to provide expertise, vaccines and other materials and stands ready to support the government in any way we can."

UNICEF is working with the World Health Organization and other international non-governmental organizations to make sure the maximum number of children are vaccinated.

"Over 1.7 million children need to be vaccinated immediately, so this campaign, a massive logistical operation, must be rolled out very fast," Ayoya said. "With the government and other humanitarian actors, we are aiming to reach as many children as we can."

Measles is one of the most contagious disease in the world and can cause severe complications including encephalitis, diarrhea, pneumonia and death.