The first batch of much needed measles vaccines arrived in Sudan yesterday, in response to the measles outbreak that has occurred in 23 states over the past months.
Two million measles vaccine doses were received at Khartoum international airport last Monday by the Federal Ministry of Health, World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF, out of 9.6 million doses ordered to support a mass immunisation campaign due to be conducted in the affected areas.
WHO, in support of the Government of Sudan and in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health, developed a proposal to allocate US$ 3.9 million last month from the Measles and Rubella Initiative (MRI), to cover the purchase of needed vaccines and other logistics and medical requirements, to enhance measles containment and response.
“Thanks to the contribution and hard work of all parties, WHO, jointly with the Federal Ministry of Health, has seen the MRI proposal confirmed, approved and implemented in a short time, and has contributed to the procurement and delivery of measles vaccines by sister agency UNICEF,” said
Dr. Naeema Al-Gasseer, WHO Representative in Sudan.
“Logistic staff in WHO Sudan and the Ministry has exerted intense efforts to ensure the timely release of vaccines. With the first batch of vaccines received, the success of containment activities is now more likely than before. We will continue our efforts with the Ministry of Health and UNICEF to ensure the receipt of the rest of the vaccine doses in due time,” she added.
More than 1,600 suspected measles cases (with 710 confirmed) have been reported from 23 localities in 12 states of Sudan since the onset of the measles outbreak in December 2014. Great effort has been undertaken to control the outbreak, including conducting response immunisation campaigns. Between 19 and 23 January, Gedarif and Kassala states of Sudan (where the outbreak first started) conducted a response measles immunization campaign in 11 localities. The arrival of the 2 million doses will accelerate conducting more mass immunisation campaigns.