MoH and MSF drive vaccination campaign against hepatitis

MoH and MSF drive vaccination campaign against hepatitis
Clinical officer Maureen Akenga treats a child that was admitted to MSF’s field hospital in Doro refugee camp in Maban County with severe malaria (photo credit: courtesy).

The national Ministry of Health and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) have launched a joint vaccination campaign against hepatitis E in Bentiu, Unity State.

A statement by MSF issued yesterday indicated that the campaign targets the population that has been affected by the disease, particularly the endangered pregnant women who record higher fatalities.

The disease causes acute viral hepatitis, responsible for liver damage and more than 44,000 deaths per year globally, MSF noted.

“The fight against hepatitis E has been long and frustrating,” said Dr. Monica Rull, MSF medical director.

 “Over the last two decades, MSF has been responding to hepatitis E outbreaks in displacement camps, trying to control the disease in challenging conditions and seeing the devastating impact on extremely vulnerable communities. With the experience of this vaccination campaign, we hope to change the way we tackle hepatitis E in the future.”

Dr. John Rumunu, director general for preventive health services at South Sudan’s ministry of health, showed optimism that the exercise would certainly pay off and the crisis.

“Given the successful implementation and the community’s enthusiastic response in the first two rounds, this innovative vaccination campaign can serve as an example and be replicated in similar settings to manage hepatitis E outbreaks,” said Dr. John Rumunu, director general for preventive health services at South Sudan’s ministry of health. “I hope the vaccine will help reduce infections and deaths from hepatitis E in Bentiu and beyond.”

Bentiu, the largest displaced persons camp in South Sudan, established in 2014 at the height of the civil war, currently hosts approximately 112,000 people. However, many have fled due to recent violence and flooding.

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