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Niger: MSF Vaccinates Nearly 300,000 Children Against Measles
Campaign continues in Maradi and Zinder regions
April 4, 2008
Niger 2008 © Nico Heijenberg/MSF
Since January, thousands of children have developed measles in Niger. MSF has sent medical teams to Maradi and Zinder, the regions with the highest numbers of measles cases, to prevent the spread of this highly contagious disease.
In Zinder, a decentralized strategy
In Zinder region, MSF teams have set up a surveillance system, trained medical personnel, and launched an awareness campaign on national radio stations.
Around 20 children with measles are being diagnosed every day. Children with measles must be isolated, due to the high risk of contagion, and receive treatment for lack of vitamin A, ocular complications, stomatitis (a viral mouth infection), dehydration, and protein deficiencies. Some may need to receive specific treatment for fever, diarrhea, malnutrition, and sepsis.
In Maradi, 142,000 children vaccinated
Of the 2,200 cases reported since the beginning of the year, 946 were registered in the Maradi region, which includes Maradi Commune, Guidam Roumji, and Madarounfa.
Measles provokes complications in malnourished children
Niger has one of the worst rates of chronic and acute childhood malnutrition in the world. MSF runs nutritional programs in several locations, including: the regions of Maradi, in Maradi town, Guidan Roumdji, and Dakoro; Zinder, in Zinder town and Magaria; and Tahoua, in Madoua et Bouza. When malnutrition and measles are combined, it is extremely serious for young children. Malnutrition weakens the immune response and leaves children more vulnerable to infectious diseases such as measles, and children with measles are more susceptible to malnutrition. It is therefore essential to protect children against measles in Niger. MSF has initiated massive vaccination campaigns to prevent the disease from spreading any further.