The Health Ministry, the World Health Organisation and the UN children’s fund UNICEF said on Friday 15 children have died in rural South Sudan as the result of a botched measles vaccination.
The deaths occurred in the remote village of Nachodokopele, where about 300 people were vaccinated.
According to the statement, an investigation supported by WHO and UNICEF found that the children died as a result of severe toxicity resulting from the administration of a contaminated vaccine.
The untrained vaccination team used a single reconstitution syringe for the entire four days of the campaign and kept vaccines in a building with no cold storage facilities during that time.
“Thirty-two other children suffered symptoms of fever, vomiting and diarrhea, but recovered,’’ the UN agencies said.
The risk of measles remains high in South Sudan because an ongoing military conflict has disrupted health services.
“The country has experienced significant measles outbreaks among unprotected population caused by a backlog of vaccinated children in the country,’’ the statement said.