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Children in Philippines Receive Vaccines Against Measles, Polio

December 3, 2013
The Government of the Philippines with support from UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO), and other partners recently announced a mass campaign to vaccinate more than 30,000 children against measles and polio in typhoon-hit Tacloban. They also received Vitamin A supplements to help improve their immunity against infections.

More than 5,000 people were killed and more than 1,600 people are missing two weeks after Typhoon Haiyan swept through the Philippines. More than a million homes were damaged or destroyed and 3.4 million people displaced.

This is the first phase of a campaign targeting children under five years old in all the typhoon-affected areas. Fifteen teams (10 foreign and 5 national) are administering the vaccinations, including volunteers from the Department of Health, the Philippines Red Cross and other non-governmental organizations. The first to receive them were children in 20 evacuation centers – such as San Jose Elementary School, where more than 300 families currently live in conditions that can heighten the risk of infectious diseases.

At the government's request, UNICEF purchased more than $2 million worth of vaccines to replenish in-country stocks now being used for the campaign. In addition, UNICEF and WHO are helping to re-establish the broken cold chain to help keep vaccines at the right temperature.

During the campaign, children also are screened for malnutrition by measuring their mid-upper arm circumference, which will indicate if they are undernourished and require treatment.

More information can be found here.