Ambalavao – measles outbreaks have killed 1,200 people in Madagascar, most of them affecting children and toddlers. Madagascar is facing the largest measles outbreak with cases of more than 115 thousand.
The lack of resources in Madagascar is a major challenge for the community, especially parents who want to protect their children. So far, only 58 percent of people on the main island of Masagascar have been vaccinated against measles.
The World Health Organization (WHO) stated that measles outbreaks have killed most children under the age of 15 since last September.
"Unfortunately, the epidemic continues to grow, even at a slower pace than a month ago," said the WHO epidemiologist, Dossou Vincent Sodjinou, Monday (15/4).
The Ministry of Health of Madagascar noted that there were 117,075 reported cases of measles in mid-March. Some cases are resistant to vaccination, others are due to religious influence or in remote areas.
The epidemic was exacerbated by the lack of nutrition that nearly 50 percent of children in Madagascar have. "Malnutrition is the cause of measles," he said.
The Ministry of Health of Madagascar has sent free medication to areas affected by measles. Measles is a highly contagious disease that spreads through coughing, sneezing or direct contact. Symptoms of measles can still be prevented by administering medication to prevent complications.
"Vitamin A is given to children to increase their immunity. We try to deal with fever. If there is cough, we give antibiotics," said the WHO representative, Dr. Boniface Maronko.
Maronko recalled that the head of the health center in the Ambalavao region would provide free medication. Maronko was worried that the medicine sent could not be enough.
One of the citizens of Madagascar, Lalatiana Ravonjisoa, has five children affected by measles. Vegetable sellers in this poor district mourn their five-month-old baby.
"I have five children, all suffering from measles. I didn't go to the doctor last because I didn't have any money. I gave my baby her sister's leftover medicine to reduce fever," said Ravonjiosa.
Ravonjiosa did not worry for a few days because her baby's condition improved. But one morning he realized that his baby was having trouble breathing and that his legs were cold. "I can't imagine he will die," he said.
At the end of last month, the WHO launched its third massive measles vaccination campaign in Madagascar, targeting 7.2 million children between the ages of six months and nine months. (der / ap / fin)