Daily Archives: May 10, 2017

Measles outbreak in Gauteng

Johannesburg � The Gauteng Health Department aims to vaccinate one million children between the ages of six months and 59 months following an outbreak of measles in the province.

Gauteng Health MEC Dr Gwen Ramokgopa visited the Hillbrow Clinic in Johannesburg on Wednesday where measles immunisation took place. The MEC urged parents to regularly immunise their children to prevent sickness and diseases.

Immunisation centres have been set up in all public health facilities, parental consent will be required for a child to be vaccinated in crAches and schools.

It is important for parents to immunise their children to prevent them from being infected. We are here to support the process of eliminating the spread of Measles.

Gauteng has 18 cases now confirmed, it is a crisis, and that is why we have this wide spread campaign. We want to see as many children immunised, said MEC Ramokgopa, while interacting with parents at the clinic who heeded the call to immunise their children.

Measles infection amongst children in Gauteng increased this year as compared to 11 measles infections recorded in 2016.

Out of the 18 reported cases, 15 are in the Johannesburg region, two from Ekurhuleni one is from Pretoria. Only four of the 18 infected patients are adults.

Children between 6 months and five-years of age, as well as those up to 15 years were targeted in Johannesburg during the vaccination drive.

Senior Medical Advisor, Dr Chike Asomugha, said the Measles outbreak is an issue often exacerbated by parents who don’t immunise their children because of certain reasons like religion.

Parents don’t like their children to be injected, majority of children infected are those (whose parents have) certain religious beliefs. Many people don’t want to vaccinate their children. We are a diverse country. Some children come from areas outside (Gauteng) and we can’t spot which children have been immunised or not.

Asomugha said parents must look out for symptoms such as body rash, cough, and red watery eyes to detect whether their children are infected or not, to prevent the spread of the disease.

It is spread through coughing, sneezing, fever and red teary eyes. It starts with a red rash over the body. It lasts for four days, followed by coughing and the eyes change in colour. Measles is infectious. We worry about it because it is associated with middle ear infection. It can also affect eyes causing blindness, infection of the brain and children can die, he said.

Children between 6 months to 5-years as well as up to 15 years are targeted in Johannesburg for immunisation.

Source: South African Government News Agency

Parents of Freed Nigeria Schoolgirls Still Wait to See Them

ABUJA � Parents of the 82 Nigerian schoolgirls released over the weekend from Boko Haram captivity said Wednesday they still were awaiting word from the government on when they will be able to see their daughters.

One father said he was thrilled to find out his daughter was among those released in exchange for five Boko Haram commanders. But Abana Ishaya said he cannot travel the long distance from his home in northern Nigeria to the capital without the government’s invitation and assurance that he will see her.

Boko Haram kidnapped 276 schoolgirls from the town of Chibok in April 2014, bringing the extremist group’s deadly rampage in northern Nigeria to the world’s attention. A first group of 21 girls was freed in October and they have been in government care since then, despite calls by families and human rights groups for them to be released to their loved ones.

“I’m very anxious to meet her so I can celebrate with her and others that were freed, and also to pray for the remaining ones who are still missing so they can be rescued,” Ishaya told The Associated Press. “I really want to see my daughter, but I can’t come unless with government invitation.”

Families say 113 of the Chibok schoolgirls remain missing. They are among thousands kidnapped by Boko Haram during its eight-year insurgency that has left thousands dead and driven millions from their homes.

Nigeria’s government has said the first group of 21 Chibok girls has been receiving medical attention, trauma counseling and rehabilitation. During a meeting with the 82 newly released schoolgirls on Sunday night, President Muhammadu Buhari promised that he personally would oversee their rehabilitation and that they would be able to pursue their education.

But families remain in Chibok, some 900 kilometers (559 miles) from the capital, Abuja.

Allen Manasseh, a spokesman for the Chibok parents, said he hopes the latest round of family reunions are better managed this time around.

“Some parents were airlifted from Chibok and brought to Abuja only for them to discover that it wasn’t their daughters,” he said, adding it was equally upsetting for the girls who thought they would see their loved ones.

The government “should open those girls up, you know, to their families to interact with, open them up to any other citizens or members of the global community that are ready to assist them,” Manasseh said.

A group of United Nations human rights experts on Tuesday called on Nigeria’s government to ensure the girls’ rehabilitation and reintegration, saying release was only a first step in their recovery.

The International Committee of the Red Cross, which helped negotiate the girls’ release along with the Swiss government, on Sunday said they soon would see their families.

Source: Voice of America