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The International Organization for Migration (IOM), the United Nations migration agency, on Friday said that it is responding to measles outbreak in Ethiopia as the outbreak claimed five people in Ethiopia’s East Wollega zone.

Noting that the Ethiopian Public Health Emergency Management Department has recorded more than 700 cases of measles since an outbreak was declared on January 24 this year, the IOM in statement issued on Friday stressed that “the actual caseload in the community remains undetermined due to inaccessibility of some among the affected areas.”

According to the UN migration agency, the outbreak was declared in the East Wollega Zonal Health Bureau, in the East African country’s southern district of Nunu Kumba, with the first case dating back to early December 2019.

“IOM is supporting the government with social mobilization and has reached out to more than 15,000 individuals in Adare and Brinkas districts with health awareness messaging, including breaking measles-related taboos,” an IOM statement issued Friday read.

The IOM also revealed that the ongoing measles outbreak has claimed five lives in Ethiopia’s East Wollega. It, however, said that “thanks to intensified surveillance and case management, no further measles-related deaths were recorded after January 27.”

“IOM, with its shelter team, plans to support the delivery of non-food items, the construction of a temporary kitchen and to rehabilitate the current isolation room in Adare health centre, which will enhance capacity to manage incoming caseload,” the statement quoted Karrupiah Vedharaniyam, head of Sub-office at IOM Nekemte, as saying.

“We will continue to assess the conditions to extend further support,” Vedharaniyam added.

The UN migration agency also stressed that its Water, Sanitation and Hygiene team is presently looking to rehabilitate institutional latrines as well as to strengthen hand-washing facilities and water points.

“The support by IOM is timely. We were able to reach out to the affected population and to mobilize a team to the field immediately,” Sonan Desalegn, Head of East Wollega Zonal Health Bureau, said. “Still, needs exist in terms of building capacity of the health extension workers and the system. We look forward to working with IOM continuously.”

The IOM also noted that its ongoing response to the measles outbreak in the East African country is being implemented with support from the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund and the Ethiopian Humanitarian Funds. Enditem

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