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Measles outbreak looming in Africa amid stalled vaccination – WHO

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Nairobi, April 22, 2021 Several African countries could experience an outbreak of measles amid stalled vaccination against the viral disease linked to Coronavirus (COVID-19) disruptions, a World Health Organisation (WHO) official said on Thursday.
The official, Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa said this in a statement ahead of the African Immunisation week slated for April 24 to 30.
Moeti said that countries that had delayed measles immunisation in the continent could experience a resurgence of the disease among young children.
“Recent outbreaks of measles, but also yellow fever, cholera, and meningitis all point to worrying gaps in immunization coverage and surveillance in Africa,” she said.
Statistics from WHO indicate that 15 African countries postponed immunisation drives against measles in 2020 to help deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Moeti said that an estimated 16.6 million African children missed supplemental measles vaccine doses from January 2020 to April 2021 while eight countries in the continent reported a major outbreak of the disease during the same period.
She said delayed vaccination campaigns fuelled the outbreaks, adding that the quality of measles surveillance in Africa fell to its lowest level in 2020, with only eleven countries meeting their target.
Moeti said that it required at least 95 percent Immunisation coverage in a given population to avert a measles outbreak while administering the first dose of the measles-containing vaccine had stagnated around 69 per cent in Africa since 2013 and only seven countries achieved the 95 per cent coverage in 2019.
She said the low measles Immunisation coverage in Africa reflected in other vaccine-preventable diseases such as tetanus, yellow fever, and diphtheria amid pandemic-linked disruptions.
“As we fight COVID-19, we cannot leave anyone dangerously exposed to preventable diseases. I urge countries to double down on essential health services, including life-saving vaccination campaigns,” said Moeti.
She added that WHO had partnered with African countries to ensure that routine immunisation against childhood ailments was sustained during the pandemic through enhanced surveillance, training of healthcare workers, and community engagement.

Previous articleAdvocate flays UNILAG over certificate delay to 13,000 graduates Certificate By Funmilayo Adeyemi Abuja, April 22, 2021 (NAN) A Good Governance Advocate, Mr Toyin Dawodu, has berated the University of Lagos for alleged delay in issuance of certificates to more than 13,000 graduates of the institution. Dawodu, a Nigerian- American Philanthropist, at a zoom news briefing in Abuja on Thursday urged the authority to immediately issue certificates to the ex-students, who graduated since 2019. The advocate, who claimed that delay had always been the trend of graduates getting their certificate after two or three years of graduation, urged leaders to look into the challenge of the university to forestall future re-occurrence. He said that the graduating students, especially the medical students, were unable to practice their profession because they could not tender their certificates to the medical board. “ I am particularly concerned about medical students, who are unable to secure employment or attend the mandatory NYSC because they could not present a graduating certificate to the education board to obtain licenses. “This problem has existed for over 15 months and not a single leader or person has thought it painful enough to do something about it. “How can a student be in school for seven years and come out without a certificate? This is the beginning of our advocacy. “The situation was so disheartening to me I could hardly sleep. We demand that Nigeria leaders should do the needful as it affects the future of the students “Anything that affects one Nigerian affects every Nigerian, so don’t look the other way because it is not affecting you,” he said. Dawodu added that the delay in issuing the certificate was costly and also against the progress of the graduates while calling on authorities concerned to look into it. Also, Mr Frank Tietie, Executive Director, Citizens Advocacy for Social and Economic Rights (CASER) said that a letter was written to the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu dated April 6 but yet to receive any reply. Tietie added that another letter was also written to the school’s authority on April 20 but was briefed that the pandemic occasioned by COVID-19 was responsible for the delay. “We understand that the university has made efforts that a number of graduates were able to go for the mandatory NYSC and housemanship for the medical students. “But the medical council has refused to recognise the students as medical doctors because of no certificate. “We also received reports during our findings that the delay had always been the trend of graduates getting their certificate after two or three years of graduation,” he said. Tietie, therefore, said that it was obvious that COVID-19 could only delay convocation but not delay the issuance of certificates. He said that the universities should be made to pay for delay in the issuance of certificates to students. “The medical graduates of UNILAG are suffering from negligence on the part of the school management and council. “We will take a lawsuit against the school and we hope others will learn from this. This will improve governance service delivery in the country,” he added
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