Campaign Begins to Innoculate 180,000 Liberian Children Against Measles
The International Rescue Committee today launched a three-month campaign to vaccinate 180,000 Liberian children in displaced persons' sites and their host communities in Monrovia's Montserrado County and the neighbouring Counties of Margibi and Bong.
Hundreds of children lined up outside two small clinics in the People's United Community, a cluster of oceanfront shacks in Monrovia's eastern suburbs. The walls of these simple concrete and straw houses are covered with algae and the roaring waves of the Atlantic are breaking less than 20 meters away.
While the staff from one of IRC's 18 vaccination teams unpacked syringes, vaccine and paper work, IRC's John Karmkakpo walked through the neighborhood with a megaphone.
"Bring your children," he announced. "Free measles vaccination and Vitamin A at the clinics. Don't miss your chance."
To prepare local health staff for the task, some 200 vaccinators and support staff, such as syringe fillers and crowd controllers received training by staff from the IRC and the Liberian Ministry of Health.
"We came to a slow start, but we expect to vaccinate around 1,000 children before we close up today," said the IRC's program manager Nyanzeh Martor.
The IRC has already vaccinated over 40,000 children between the ages of six months and 15 years against measles in the past month, but a second grant from the U.S. Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance for $371,000 has allowed the IRC to expand the program.