National, News

Measles cases alarming- Health Minister

By Kidega Livingstone


Measles outbreak hits the country with cases in Western Equatoria, Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Upper Nile, and Warrap States, respectively.

National Minister of Health, Yolanda Awel Deng says the cases increase following influx of refugees and returnees from Sudan.

According to the minister the measles outbreak is nationwide threat, with children, most vulnerable to infections.

The minister noted that children inter communal conflicts in country have it difficult to vaccinate children in some areas.

According to Yolland, COVID-19 era, also hindered vaccination of most children against measles.

“The Ministry of Health is aware of the outbreak, which has also affected other states,” Yolanda told journalists during a press conference in Juba on Monday.

“These cases were reported across the country; the ministry is working together with health partners to make sure that the measles vaccination is rolled out nationwide in a very short period of time,” she continued.

Harriet Pasquale is the Acting Undersecretary and Director General for Medical Services at the national ministry of health. She revealed that the reported cases enable the World Health Organization and other partners to urgently launch a vaccination campaign across the country.

Médecins Sans Frontiers (MSF), or “Doctor without Border,” reported that since early February 2024, over 460 cases of measles have been recorded as of March 24th in three facilities in Yambio and Nzara counties, Western Equatoria State.

These cases also included seven deaths among children under five years old, and 90% of the patients in the facilities have never been vaccinated against the contagious disease.

MSF raised concern that, with measles cases on the rise and vaccination coverage alarmingly low, the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization should launch an immediate vaccination campaign to prevent the disease from spreading further.

The international medical charity warned that measles has become a persistent emergency in South Sudan, with recurring outbreaks challenging health care systems and endangering communities.

According to Doctor without Border, more than 12,000 cases have been reordered since 2022, and last week, the country reordered more than 400 cases alone.

Measles symptoms include cold-like symptoms such as aches and pains, a runny nose, sneezing and coughing, and sore eyes that may be sensitive to light.

Others are a temperature of 38 degrees Celsius or above (fever), small gray-white spots in your mouth, loss of appetite and tiredness, irritability, and a general lack of energy.



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