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GeneralHealthLiberia news

Health authorities alarm over measles outbreak

By: Kruah Thompson 

Authorities at the Ministry of Health say their retained surveillance system has detected an unusual increase in measles cases here.

The health authorities said they were now calling on the attention of the national government to mobilize resources to strengthen the health system in responding to the outbreak in the various counties.

“If we do not draw national attention to the situation and mobilize resources to have onboard with us vaccines to respond to the outbreak of measles across the counties, we will have a health system sooner or later that will not be able to respond” Dr. Julius Gilayeneh deputy director for technical services of the National Health Institute of Liberia asserts.

Speaking to journalists over the weekend, Dr. Gilayeneh explained that since the beginning of 2022, the ministry of health has reported about 1954 suspected measles cases in the country of which 265 had been confirmed by the public health Laboratory.

He further explained that the outbreak has been reported in 33 of the 92 districts across the country and that suspected cases are being reported in all of the 15 counties.

“Montserrado County has been the hot spot, where over 1145 out of the total 1954 cases are being reported, accounting for over 50℅ of the cases that have been reported.” Said Dr. Gilayeneh.

He said next to Montserrado, is Nimba, which has reported 249 cases, while Margibi, 130 cases, Lofa 130, and Grand Bassa 131 respectively.

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Dr. Gilayeneh also told journalists that there are cases in all of the other counties but the numbers are not as compared to the ones listed above.

The age range contributed to the cases being reported from 3 months to 68 years. The most affected are children under the age of 9 years who account for approximately 80℅ of the cases.

Meanwhile, based on the absolute increase and the Geographical Distribution of the measles cases that have been detected and terms unusual by the MoH, the National Public Health Institute in line with her mandate taken from the minister of health Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah, says they are particularly concerned about the health system, which has already been affected by COVID-19 and remains fragile.

However, the Director-General for technical services says they are worried that if nothing is done to respond to the outbreak across the counties it might evolve into a disaster.

According to him the situation is not unique to Liberia, globally there’s a 79% increase in measles cases across the world, and this is being reported by the WHO and CDC.

” When I say 79℅ increase for example if you were reporting 100 cases on a simple period of last year by the same period this year you’ll receive around 179% increase in cases.” He noted 

The top 10 countries that are reporting higher measles cases, according to WHO, are in the African region and there are few in the West African region.

The ones in West Africa include Nigeria, Mali, and Ivory Coast. These countries are reporting the highest number of measles cases in West Africa. While the others are in Somalia, Ethiopia, and Congo respectively.

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The New Dawn is Liberia’s Truly Independent Newspaper Published by Searchlight Communications Inc. Established on November 16, 2009, with its first hard copy publication on January 22, 2010. The office is located on UN Drive in Monrovia Liberia. The New Dawn is bilingual (both English & French).
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