Health providers in Myanmar are continuing efforts to contain a nationwide measles outbreak that has infected more than 1,300 people and led to the death of one child. The Myanmar Ministry of Health and Sports (MoHS) has launched supplementary immunization campaigns in affected states and regions, but low immunization coverage in many communities across the country poses a significant challenge to measles control.
For children who become infected with measles, vitamin A deficiency due to undernourishment is a recognized risk factor that can lead to severe measles. In Kawkareik Township, Kayin State, Myanmar, the Karen Department of Health and Welfare (KDHW) and the MoHS District Health Department are cooperating to ensure that children under five receive vitamin A supplements to help prevent severe measles in case of infection.
On March 5, 2019, a joint KDHW-MoHS team traveled to Set Ka Wet village with support from Community Partners International (CPI) in response to reports of suspected measles infections among young children. During the visit, a MoHS District Health Department representative followed up on these suspected cases, made confirmed diagnoses, and provided treatment. KDHW trained vaccination team members provided vitamin A supplementation to all children under five as part of a two-day oral dose recommended by the World Health Organization. The team organized a health education session with community members to raise awareness and understanding of measles and its symptoms, the importance of immunization, and the action to take when a child is suspected of having measles.
CPI will continue to support cooperative efforts between these health providers to respond to the measles outbreak and provide for communities’ wider health care needs.
CPI’s support to this joint initiative was funded through the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) Primary Health Care (PHC) Project.