The Ministry of Health’s retained surveillance system has noticed an unexpected surge in cases of measles locally, according to authorities. The health authorities said that they were now appealing to the national government to deploy resources that could help the health system respond to the outbreak in the various areas.
If we do not bring national attention to the situation and mobilize resources to have vaccines on board to respond to the measles outbreak across the counties, we will have a health system that will be unable to respond sooner or later, says Dr. Julius Gilayeneh, deputy director for technical services at the National Health Institute of Liberia.
Dr. Gilayeneh highlighted to journalists over the weekend that the ministry of health has reported over 1954 suspected measles cases in the country since the beginning of 2022, of which 265 have been validated by the public health laboratory.
He continued by stating that the outbreak has been confirmed in 33 of the 92 districts across the country, and that suspected cases have been reported in all 15 counties.
“Montserrado County has remained the prime area, with over 1145 cases recorded out of a total of 1954, accounting for more than half of the cases reported.” Dr. Gilayeneh stated.
Next to Montserrado, he stated, comes Nimba, which has 249 cases, followed by Margibi with 130 cases, Lofa with 130, and Grand Bassa with 131.
According to Dr. Gilayeneh, there are cases in all of the other counties, although the statistics are not as significant as the ones mentioned previously.
The age range of the patients recorded varied from 3 months to 68 years. Children under the age of nine are the most vulnerable, accounting for almost 80 per cent of the total of all cases.
Additionally, focusing on the outright increase and geographic distribution of cases of measles recorded and terms unusual by the MoH, the National Public Health Institute, in full compliance with the mandate granted to her by Minister of Health Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah, expresses concern about the health system, which has also been significantly affected by COVID-19 and continues to remain fragile.
The Director-General for Technical Services, on the other hand, is concerned that if nothing is implemented to respond to the outbreak throughout the counties, it would turn into a mishap.
However, according to him, the situation is not limited to Liberia; there has also been a 79 percent spike in measles cases globally, as recorded by the WHO and the Center for Disease Control.
“When I say 79 percent rise, I mean that if you reported 100 cases in a simple period the previous year, you’ll obtain approximately 179 percent more cases in the same period this year.” He remarked.
According to the WHO, the top ten countries with the maximum number of measles cases are all in Africa, with only a minority in West Africa.
Nigeria, Mali, and Ivory Coast are among those in West Africa. The maximum number of measles cases in West Africa is reported in these countries. Others are located in Somalia, Ethiopia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, accordingly.
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