In a bizarre and heart-wrenching happening, at least 15 children were killed in South Sudan, not by bullets, hunger or disease, but by a botched immunization attempt. The incident happened as a number of children were been vaccinated against measles.
According to an investigation into the cause of the deaths, the children met the sad end when they were vaccinated with the same unsterilized syringe. This was coupled with the fact that the vaccines were also not stored properly. This resulted in them contracting severe infection and sepsis.
South Sudan health minister in an address said that the team administering the vaccinations were neither qualified nor trained to do so. This assertion was backed by a report from the Associated Press that stated that during the campaign, children as young as 12 years were administering the vaccine to others.
According to reports, about 300 people were vaccinated during the campaign in the Kapoeta region of South Sudan, including 32 other children who fell ill but survived. This brought the total number of children affected to 47.
The outbreak of Measles outbreaks in the country is a consistent battle that the United Nations children’s fund (Unicef) is fighting with the final aim being to vaccinate 1.2 million children by the end of this year.
South Sudan was declared as an independent nation-state in 2011 but has struggled to fare any better than when they were part of the Sudan government. The desert country has also found it hard-going to provide basic amenities for its citizens and to maintain services like healthcare since civil war broke out in 2013
According to United Nations estimates, more than one million children fled the country during the conflict, and a million more are displaced within the country.
Measles is a contagious viral infection that attacks the human body and the respiratory tract most especially. Sepsis, on the other hand, is a potentially deadly immune response triggered by an infection which spreads quickly in the body. This infection if not arrested on time can lead to multiple organ failure and death.
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