Thousands of children are being vaccinated in Guinea, where a measles epidemic has been declared by the authorities. EU Humanitarian Aid reacted swiftly and provided funding to international medical non-governmental organisation ALIMA to carry out large-scale vaccinations of children under the age of five in Nzérékoré, the most affected region. This adds to the national efforts to vaccinate in other regions.
A vaccination campaign is a big logistical operation. Vaccines must travel long distances in cool boxes to keep their efficacy. From the capital to Nzérékoré prefecture, there are over 1000 kilometres of roads, often in bad condition. Then, the vaccines are to be taken to remote villages where the children gather to take their shot.
With EU funding, ALIMA has vaccinated over 148 000 children in the last month. “Already we can see a drop in the number of measles cases in that region and we believe it is a consequence of the vaccination campaign,” says the EU humanitarian health expert for West Africa, Jean-Paul Jemmy-Ghomsi.
ALIMA is also ensuring that those children who are sick receive medical treatment. Since the epidemic was declared on February 8th, a total of 4 139 cases have been registered in the country (number correct as of late March), of which 1 170 were in the region of Nzérékoré, which borders Liberia, increasing the risk of the disease crossing the border as it happened in 2012 with Ebola.
Video by ALIMA/ECHO