NEW YORK/MAIDUGURI, Nigeria, April 12, 2021—Hundreds of children are falling ill with measles in Zabarmari, a small town in Nigeria's conflict-affected Borno state, the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) warned today. A vaccination campaign is needed to curb the epidemic in Zabarmari and the state capital Maiduguri.
"We are engaged in discussions with the authorities and preparing to support them in a catch-up vaccination campaign in Maiduguri and Zabarmari as soon as vaccines are available, because measles is extremely contagious and especially dangerous for young children," said David Thérond, MSF head of mission.
The vaccination plan is still under discussion at state and federal levels with the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization.
MSF is treating children with measles at Gwange pediatric hospital in Maiduguri. The first child was admitted on December 3, and the number of patients has increased since then at Gwange and other Maiduguri hospitals. From January 1 to April 3, MSF admitted a total of 1,158 children with measles at Gwange pediatric hospital, of whom 58 percent came from Zabarmari, which is about 12 miles from Maiduguri.