Working in partnership with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and several other major organisations, GOAL has contributed to a major measles vaccination campaign in Abyei, South Sudan. The rapidly rolled out strategy vaccinated 21,500 children over a seven day period, ensuring the youth of Abyei will be safe from the recent measles outbreak in the area.
The measles vaccination campaign, spearheaded by IOM, took place from 10th-17th October. Working in conjunction with IOM, Unicef, MSF and WHO, GOAL provided a range of logistical, communications and management supports to protect the children of the area from the recent outbreak. Through effective planning and mapping of local Payams (towns) and Bomas (Communities) alongside well timed training and preparation of community-level heath workers, GOAL continued its’ work combatting measles in the region which is particularly susceptible to outbreaks of communicable diseases.
This campaign comes just months after two previous major measles vaccination programmes that GOAL rolled out earlier this year in both Abyei and Twic counties.
During a six-day campaign in Abyei at the start of March, GOAL vaccinated some 17,000 children under the age of five. Shortly after this success, GOAL was alerted to a spike in cases in Twic County. Again, the team mobilised with great speed in order to secure the safety of the community.
Within 10 days of the first case being identified, GOAL's team was ready to conduct an even larger vaccination campaign. GOAL vaccinated almost 60,000 children under the age of five, reaching 95% of its target population in the region. To learn more about this campaign, click here.
What is Measles?
Measles is a highly contagious infectious disease which can lead to initial symptoms including fever, cough, runny nose, and inflamed eyes. A red, flat rash which usually starts on the face and then spreads to the rest of the body typically begins three to five days after the start of symptoms. These symptoms usually develop 10–12 days after exposure to an infected person and last 7–10 days. Complications will occur in about 30% of cases and may include diarrhea, blindness, inflammation of the brain, and pneumonia.
Measles is one of the world’s primary causes of fatality among young children. This is true even though there is a safe and extremely cost-effective vaccine readily available. This vaccine costs under €2 per child.
In 2014 alone, there were almost 115,000 measles deaths all over the world – about 314 deaths annually or 13 fatalities per hour. Vaccination campaigns like those carried out by IOM and GOAL are crucial in the fight against this disease.
GOAL in South Sudan
GOAL has been working in the region now known as South Sudan since 1985 and continues to provide life-preserving aid to those most in need. The major conflict that has afflicted the country since it gained independence in 2011 has left millions displaced and many more in need of access to adequate healthcare and basic services.
**The images shown in this piece are from a previous GOAL Measles vaccination campaign carried out in South Sudan earlier in 2016**