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WHO, UNICEF warn against measles epidemic in Nigeria, others

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UNITED Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and World Health Organisation (WHO) have warned of a “perfect storm” of conditions for measles outbreaks, as measles cases increased by 79 per cent in the first two months of 2022, compared to the same period in 2021.

  The warning is coming after Nigeria, Somalia, Yemen, Afghanistan, and Ethiopia recorded the largest measles outbreak in 2021 due to insufficient measles vaccine coverage during outbreaks.

  Describing increase in measles cases in January and February 2022 in the five countries as a worrying sign of a heightened risk for the spread of vaccine-preventable diseases and could trigger larger outbreaks, particularly of measles affecting millions of children this year,  report by the agencies explained that as pandemic-related disruptions, increasing inequalities in access to vaccines, and the diversion of resources from routine immunisation are leaving too many children without protection against measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases, the report stated.

  Speaking on the development, UNICEF Executive Director, Catherine Russell, said measles is more than a dangerous and potentially deadly disease, while Director-General of WHO, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said COVID-19 interrupted immunisation services.

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