A mass vaccination campaign against measles was launched in the Chadian capital on March 26, following a quick increase of measles cases affecting children and adolescents.
From the beginning of the year to March 20, 3,550 cases were declared. Around 800 appeared during the third week of March. As a result, an emergency response was organized in close collaboration with Chadian authorities.
More than 60 teams have been deployed in the town to provide immunization for all children between six months and 15 years, totalling around 580,000 people. Between March 26 and April 7, 480,000 children were vaccinated &#– and the campaign continues.
MSF also provides support, including medicines and staff, to several primary health centres in the town where simple measles cases are treated. For complicated cases, three medical structures have also been set up in the town. Malnourished children who are screened on the vaccination sites and in health centres are treated in MSF therapeutic feeding centre in the town.
The vaccination campaign was initially planned to end on April 6, but its length is extended, in cooperation with Chadian health authorities, to reach the needed level of coverage.
Measles is a major cause of death for children and adolescents throughout the world, especially if they are already malnourished or have other immune system weakness. In these cases, complications such as pneumonia or neurological consequences can intervene, and be sometimes lethal. In other cases, ocular complications can cause blindness.
Mass vaccination campaign is still the best way to reduce the intensity of epidemics. To be effective, immunization should target all the children between 6 months and 15 years old.