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MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2003 Apr 25;52(16):363-6.

Nationwide measles vaccination campaign for children aged 6 months-12 years--Afghanistan, 2002.


The public health infrastructure in Afghanistan has been devastated by 23 years of civil war, and both the infant mortality rate (165 per 1,000 live-born infants) and the mortality rate for children aged <5 years (256 per 1,000 live-born infants) are among the highest in the world. The major causes of death among children aged <10 years are diarrhea (32%), measles (25%), respiratory tract infections (13%), and other causes (30%), including malnutrition, scurvy, chronic diseases, and fever of unknown origin. Measles accounts for an estimated 30,000-35,000 deaths each year in Afghanistan. To reduce measles-related mortality, during 2002, the Ministry of Health (MoH) of the Interim Government of Afghanistan, with the support of international organizations, organized a nationwide measles vaccination campaign for children aged 6 months-12 years. This report describes the planning, implementation, and impact of this campaign. The findings suggest that the campaign had a major impact on reducing measles-related mortality. Similar campaigns might be feasible in countries affected by complex emergencies.

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