Measles Control and Elimination in Somalia: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Raoul Kamadjeu, Kebede Assegid, Boubker Naouri, Imran Raza Mirza, Abdurazak Hirsi, Abdurahman Mohammed,Mohammed Omer, Abdi Hassan Dualle and Abraham Mulugeta
The Journal of Infectious Diseases, 2011

Despite enormous challenges, Somalia has been successfully implementing accelerated measles control activities since 2005. Through innovative strategies and with the support of local and international partners, the country has shown potentials of implementing measles mortality reduction activities in complex emergencies. Measles incidence has been reduced by .80% after the measles catch-up campaigns of 2005–2007, and national reported measles routine immunization coverage with first dose measles containing vaccine has reached 59% for the first time in 2009. However, the near collapse of the health care system and the ongoing insecurity continue to hamper the implementation of recommended measles control and elimination strategies in some parts of the country, making these achievements fragile. Somalia exemplifies the challenges in meeting measles elimination goals in the World Health Organization Eastern Mediterranean region. As the region is entering its 2010 measles elimination goals, it appears necessary to establish realistic and flexible interim goals for measles control in Somalia that will take into consideration the specificities of the country. Maintaining flexibility in conducting field operations, securing financial resources, multiplying opportunities for measles vaccination, and improving disease monitoring systems will remain vital to sustain and improve current achievements.

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