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UNICEF, WHO to investigate measles in Cambodia

A government health worker administers a measles vaccination to a student at a Phnom Penh secondary school in 2013.
A government health worker administers a measles vaccination to a student at a Phnom Penh secondary school in 2013. Vireak Mai

UNICEF, WHO to investigate measles in Cambodia

The Ministry of Health is seeking help from UNICEF and the WHO in assessing the gaps in its measles vaccination program following a spate of cases that has cropped up this year despite the country being declared “measles free” by the WHO in 2015.

Officials from the three bodies met on Monday to examine vaccination coverage in the communities where the cases emerged and to provide targeted immunisation programs there, according to UNICEF and an announcement from the Phnom Penh Department of Health.

“It’s absolutely vital to ensure high vaccination coverage rates, even in a country where measles has been eliminated,” said UNICEF spokeswoman Iman Morooka, who confirmed the body would be assisting the new vaccination efforts.

The WHO didn’t respond to requests for comment, and Cambodian health officials couldn’t be reached yesterday.

In 2014, measles immunisation coverage stood at 78.6 per cent, according to the Cambodian Demographic Health Survey. Despite the “measles free” designation, five cases have been identified so far this year.

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