15 children die in South Sudan over bungled vaccination


Shamirah Abdallah (Correspondent)


In the rural of South Sudan, at least 15 children have already been counted dead over botched measles vaccination.

From 2nd May to 5th May, measles vaccination was carried out in different areas around South Sudan.

In Nacholdokopele village, in the Eastern Equatorial state, about 300 children aging up to 5 years were vaccinated. Unfortunately, it’s from those that death has occurred, as said by South Sudan’s health minister, Riek Gai Kok.

The minister, on Friday, blamed the deaths on human error.

According to the reports, health workers that were vaccinating the children used the same syringe throughout the campaign that lasted for four days, without sterilizing it, and kept the vaccines in a building without adequate cold storage facilities.

“The team that vaccinated the children were neither qualified nor trained for the vaccination campaign,” Said Kok, the health minister.

Following an investigation carried out by the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF, it was discovered that the deaths were also caused by severe toxicity as a result of administering contaminated vaccines.

However, thirty two other children also suffered symptoms of fever, diarrhoea and vomiting but luckily recovered, according to the sources.

Since the training of the vaccination teams had been led by WHO, the World Health Organization’s spokes person Tarik Jasarevic was reported saying,

“We have to look into why the training was not passed on to the teams on the ground.”

The vaccines were supplied by UNICEF, the UN agency that provides humanitarian and developmental assistance to mothers and children in developing countries.

According to UN statement, the measles threat in South Sudan still remains extremely high. Therefore, despite the devastating deaths, the vaccination campaign still carries on in other parts of the country until at least two million children have been saved.

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