24 November 2011 – Some 32 cases of measles had been reported in Rumbek East County, Lakes State, the state Ministry of Health told UN Radio Miraya today.
A highly contagious disease caused by a virus, measles is a leading cause of death among young children, according to the World Health Organisation.
“We have an outbreak, or you may correctly say cases of measles coming up, in some of our counties in Lakes State,” said Ministry of Health Director General Achut Achut. “The most affected county is Rumbek East County in a place called Billing.”
The first case of measles in the state was reported on 15 October in Awac Village.
“Most of the affected children are under five,” Director General Achut said. “They do not have a history of vaccination.”
Despite the availability of a vaccine, frequent insecurity occasioned by tribal conflicts in Billing has undermined access to vaccinators, and immunization coverage in the area is low.
“This area is known for tribal conflict… and most of the people have deserted (the area),” Mr. Achut said. “Our health workers, in actual fact, are frightened to go to that area during the rounds of vaccinations.”
The director general said the ministry had established a mobile clinic at Billing Primary Health Care Centre to make treatment more accessible to affected patients receiving treatment under trees.