Somalia | News | WHO conducts measles surveillance workshop in Hargeisa

WHO conducts measles surveillance workshop in Hargeisa

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Hargeisa-Measles-13Jun17_V8A180613 June 2017 - The World Health Organization completed a 3-day training workshop for public health officials and clinicians to introduce case-based surveillance for measles in Somaliland. The workshop aimed to educate health professionals on how to detect and investigate suspected measles cases, how to collect, transport and test blood specimens, and how to plan interventions to control measles outbreaks.

Measles is a highly contagious respiratory infection that causes high fever and rash. It commonly affects children who have not been vaccinated. While measles is endemic in Somalia, the number of cases reported is higher in 2017 than in previous years. Over 3000 measles cases have been reported in Somaliland; the bulk (53%) of these were recorded in the Toghder region, and the numbers continue to rise. The high numbers of measles cases can be attributed to overcrowding and malnutrition, especially among displaced populations affected by the ongoing drought and pre-famine conditions in the country. 

The existing measles surveillance systems are not robust enough to accurately detect outbreaks. The new case-based surveillance system improves on this by requiring clinicians in health facilities to report all suspected measles cases immediately to the designated levels in the health system, regularly collect measles specimens for laboratory-confirmation, and use standard reporting processes.

The workshop, which ran from 22 to 24 May in Hargeisa, was attended by 45 health professionals from 6 regions in Somaliland, and facilitated by WHO technical experts from Somalia and the Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean. Additional training workshops are scheduled to be run in Mogadishu and Garowe next month to extend the measles surveillance system across Somalia.

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Key health-related statistics

Total population (000s)12 316
Maternal mortality ratio (per 100 000 live births) 732
Total life expectancy at birth (years) 55

Source: Framework for health information systems and core indicators for monitoring health situation and health system performance, 2018

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