QRCS, WHO join hands to fight measles in Somalia

September 12, 2011 - 12:39:27 am

DOHA: The Qatar Red Crescent Society (QRCS) will soon join the World Health Organization (WHO) to combat an outbreak of measles amongst the tens of thousands of families living in camps for the internally displaced in Somalia, escaping from drought and famine in their home areas.

QRCS will start working on this mission to administer vaccines to prevent measles as the organization has been granted permission to access the southern military control areas, said Dr Amer R Melhem, Disaster management Coordinator, Qatar Red crescent.

“The plan is now to coordinate and join the vaccination campaign that was announced by the WHO because now people are afraid of getting measles through our mobile health clinics,” said Dr Melhem, speaking on sidelines of an event held to announce about a partnership between the QRCS and Aramex, yesterday.

There are five mobile clinics equipped with the basic medical equipment and drugs and supervised by a number of integrated, multi-disciplinary medical teams including a doctor, nurse, dispenser and two volunteer health workers operating in Somalia.

“Through these teams we will be able to implement the vaccination campaign. WHO will do the training and provide the vaccines,” said Dr Melhem.

The QRCS medical teams are providing basic health-care services in the most vulnerable areas, particularly the camps located in the Somali and now as the organization has been permitted to work in the Al Shebob area, the work will be expanded soon.

“Al Shebob area actually we have got the permission to access, but we are not mobilized our teams there. But we will soon this week or next week,” said Dr Melhem.

Speaking about the long denial to access the area and the ground situation he said, “They are not at major risk, as majority of those people were able to move to Kenya, Ethiopia and other places, however will get field reports only after our teams go to the place.”

The QRCS might appeal for more funds for its relief work in Somalia as it is expected to be expanded for more months due to the prevailing situation. The organization launched the relief programme for approximately QR 13 million and was able to cover 80 percent of it, says Dr Melhem.

“May be in future we will expand our existence there, so we will be able to function with more money and we are hoping to revise the appeal in the coming two weeks,” he said.

The Peninsula