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Tajikistan: 3mMillion Immunised Against Measles

Unicef Begins Drive To Immunize Three Million In Tajikistan Against Measles

Almost half the population of Tajikistan will be vaccinated against measles over the next fortnight in a campaign by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to stop the spread of a disease which has shown an alarming resurgence in the Central Asian nation in recent years.

This week about 6,000 health workers have begun moving across the largely mountainous nation to immunize nearly three million children and young people against measles. The country’s population is estimated at just over six million.

Child mortality is becoming an increasing problem in Tajikistan, where the number of children who die before they turn five has reached 118 per 1,000 births. One of the causes is measles, which has re-emerged since the collapse of the Soviet Union when immunization programmes were routine.

Yukie Mokuo, UNICEF’s Chief Representative in Tajikistan, said the country’s difficult terrain was the greatest challenge facing the vaccinators. Many villages are remote and can only be reached at certain times of the year when mountain passes are open.

The mobile vaccination teams are starting in the gorges and valleys before moving up into the mountain areas to try to immunize children who have never been reached before.

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