The World Health Organization has raised alarm over millions of children in Africa at risk of a major measles outbreak as several African countries have delayed vaccinations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This was made known by the health body during the 2021 World immunization week themed “Take action: Get yourself and your loved ones Vaccinated”, saying 15 African countries delayed rolling out the measles immunization drive in 2020 over the COVID-19 pandemic, while seven out of eight countries have so far completed the immunization campaigns.
Speaking, Regional Director for Africa, WHO, Matshidiso Moeti said “Recent outbreaks of measles, but also yellow fever, cholera, and meningitis all point to worrying gaps in immunization coverage and surveillance in Africa.
“As we fight COVID-19, we cannot leave anyone dangerously exposed to preventable diseases.”
The WHO official urged countries to intensify essential health services including routine vaccination drives.
“Integrated action is needed to increase and expand access to immunization as part of primary health care,” she said “We must also engage more with community leaders and influencers to ensure that everyone understands the life-saving, transformative promise of vaccines.”