World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


UNICEF Begins Life-saving Immunization Campaign

By Lisa Schlein

UNICEF Begins Life-Saving Immunization Campaign in Somalia

The United Nations Children's Fund says it is beginning a week-long mass immunization campaign in war-torn Somalia on Sunday. UNICEF says volunteer health workers aim to immunize 100,000 children and women in camps for internally displaced people in southern Somalia.

During the coming week, tens of thousands of children and women living in over 80 camps along the Mogadishu-Afgoye corridor, will receive a package of critical life saving interventions.

The U.N. Children's Fund says children under age five will receive measles, polio, diphtheria, tetanus and tuberculosis vaccines. In addition, they will receive vitamin A, which helps boost their immunity against illness.

UNICEF says the weeklong campaign also targets women of reproductive age. About 56,000 will receive iron supplementation and tetanus toxoid immunization.

Hundreds of thousands of Somalis, who fled fighting in Mogadishu, have gone to the Afgoye region, about 30 kilometers south of the capital.

In an interview from Mogadishu, UNICEF Communication Officer, Misbah Sheikh, told VOA conditions under which the displaced people are living are appalling.

"Many of the camps are overcrowded. There is a lot of potential for diseases and especially waterborne diseases. And in fact, in the past Somalia has seen outbreaks of cholera and, I believe, thousands of people have died," said Sheikh.

UNICEF says Somalia is one of the worst places on earth for children. It says one in eight children dies before age five, one in three is chronically malnourished, 30 percent of children go to school and life expectancy is 47 years on average.

Sheikh says 16 years of conflict have destroyed Somalia's health system. She says there are not enough trained doctors and nurses to provide essential services for the population.

She says recent data show targeted immunization campaigns, such as the one going on now, do make a difference in reducing the number of children who die each year from measles and polio.

"So, it is very important that people understand that in spite of whatever appears on the media on a daily basis, you know, the blood-letting and what not, there are wonderful things going on," said Sheikh. "There are latrines being constructed. There is water reaching people who need it. Children who are malnourished are getting treated, which is not to say we are reaching every child. There are lots of challenges and tremendous gaps."

Sheikh says this immunization campaign along the Afgoye Road is one of three that UNICEF and its partners will organize in the coming weeks. She says these campaigns have proven to be very cost effective.

She says UNICEF and the World Health Organization believe they can reach 3.5 million children and women in the next two years for as little as $15 per person per year.


More: Latest World News | Top World News | World Digest | Archives

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


UN: COVID Contributed To 69,000 Malaria Deaths WHO Finds, Though ‘Doomsday Scenario’ Averted
Disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in considerable increases in malaria cases and deaths between 2019 and 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday... More>>

Save The Children: World Leaders Urged To Halt Escalating Hunger Crisis

A group of 120 non-governmental organisations has joined forces in an open letter calling on world leaders to do more to halt a devastating global hunger crisis as new analysis shows the number of people likely to be in need of humanitarian aid in 2022 could rise by 17%...More>>

WMO: Another La Niña Impacts Temperatures And Precipitation – But Not Climate Change
La Niña has developed for the second consecutive year and is expected to last into early 2022, influencing temperatures and precipitation. Despite the cooling influence of this naturally occurring climate phenomenon, temperatures in many parts of the world are expected to be above average because of the accumulated heat trapped in the atmosphere...

Cook Islands: First COVID Case "historical"

The 10 year old child who provided two ‘weak positive’ covid test results after arriving in Rarotonga last Thursday, has returned a negative result in his latest test. That means he’s not infectious and this is an historical case... More>>

Oxfam: Failure To Vaccinate The World Created Perfect Breeding Ground For Omicron, Say Campaigners

Campaigners from the People’s Vaccine Alliance say the refusal of pharmaceutical companies to openly share their vaccine science and technology and the lack of action from rich countries to ensure access to vaccines globally have created the perfect breeding ground for new variants such as Omicron... More>>

World Food Programme: Millions More In Need Of Food Assistance As A Direct Result Of Conflict In Northern Ethiopia

The number of people in need of humanitarian food assistance across northern Ethiopia has grown to an estimated 9.4 million as a direct result of ongoing conflict, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) announced today... More>>