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South Sudan: MSF carries out the first global vaccination campaign against hepatitis E

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  In a world first M decins Sans Fronti res M decins Sans Fronti res MSF and the South Sudanese Ministry of Health are carrying out a large scale vaccination campaign in response to an outbreak of hepatitis E The campaign is taking place in the Bentiu IDP camp people in the Unity State of South Sudan There is no specific treatment for hepatitis E so preventing its spread is critical especially among pregnant women who face a mortality rate of up to 25 percent if infected Hepatitis E is the most common cause of acute viral hepatitis which causes liver inflammation and damage leading to approximately 20 million infections and 44 000 deaths per year Large scale outbreaks often occur where water and sanitation are inadequate such as in refugee and displaced persons camps as it is transmitted through fecal contamination of food and water As well as being particularly deadly for pregnant women it also increases the risk of miscarriages and stillbirths The fight against hepatitis E has been long and frustrating said Dr Monica Rull MSF s medical director For the past two decades MSF has been responding to hepatitis E outbreaks in displacement camps trying to control the disease in difficult conditions and seeing the devastating impact on extremely vulnerable communities With the experience of this vaccination campaign we hope to change the way we approach hepatitis E in the future In March and April 2022 MSF and the South Sudanese Ministry of Health jointly carried out the first two rounds of the hepatitis E vaccination campaign in Bentiu Approximately 25 000 people including pregnant women have received the vaccine A third and final round will take place in October 2022 Given the successful implementation and enthusiastic community response in the first two rounds this groundbreaking vaccination campaign can serve as an example and be replicated in similar settings handling hepatitis E outbreaks said Dr John Rumunu CEO of preventive health services in Ministry of Health of South Sudan I hope the vaccine will help reduce hepatitis E infections and deaths in Bentiu and beyond Bentiu is the largest displaced persons camp in South Sudan established in 2014 at the height of the civil war Today there are approximately 112 000 people residing there many of whom have fled recent violence and flooding MSF has been present in Bentiu since its inception and has seen outbreaks of hepatitis E since 2015 The outbreaks are a result of poor living conditions including lack of access to adequate water sanitation and hygiene In 2021 extreme flooding and new influxes of displaced people exacerbated already dire living conditions increasing the spread of waterborne diseases including hepatitis E Since July 2021 MSF has treated 759 patients with confirmed hepatitis E 17 of whom died The only available hepatitis E vaccine Hecolin has been shown in clinical trials to be highly effective in preventing disease and the World Health Organization WHO has recommended that it be considered for use in outbreak responses since 2015 However Until now it has only been used individually in China where it is licensed and used to vaccinate travellers The vaccination campaign in Bentiu is the first time it has been used in response to a public health emergency This is a significant milestone in global efforts to tackle hepatitis E said Melanie Marti medical officer for immunization vaccines and biologicals at WHO This is the first time a vaccine has been used to combat the effects of this potentially devastating disease This is despite the fact that the vaccine has been licensed for more than a decade and it has been WHO policy to use it in outbreak settings since then 2015 At WHO we strongly recommend that all countries experiencing an outbreak use the hepatitis E vaccine including in pregnant women The success of the Bentiu vaccination campaign demonstrates that it is possible to use the vaccine to respond to outbreaks even in difficult conditions The South Sudan Ministry of Health and MSF are monitoring and reporting on the results of the vaccination campaign While other outbreak control measures including improved water and sanitation services are also needed health officials believe this vaccination campaign is an important step in reducing the burden of hepatitis E in the future MSF hopes the campaign will encourage other countries to use the vaccine as part of measures to control hepatitis E outbreaks
South Sudan: MSF carries out the first global vaccination campaign against hepatitis E

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Sans Fronti

In a world first, Médecins Sans Frontières/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and the South Sudanese Ministry of Health are carrying out a large-scale vaccination campaign in response to an outbreak of hepatitis E. The campaign is taking place in the Bentiu IDP camp. people in the Unity State of South Sudan. There is no specific treatment for hepatitis E, so preventing its spread is critical, especially among pregnant women who face a mortality rate of up to 25 percent if infected.

nigerian tribune newspaper

nigerian tribune newspaper

Hepatitis E is the most common cause of acute viral hepatitis, which causes liver inflammation and damage, leading to approximately 20 million infections and 44,000 deaths per year. Large-scale outbreaks often occur where water and sanitation are inadequate, such as in refugee and displaced persons camps, as it is transmitted through fecal contamination of food and water. As well as being particularly deadly for pregnant women, it also increases the risk of miscarriages and stillbirths.

Monica Rull

“The fight against hepatitis E has been long and frustrating,” said Dr. Monica Rull, MSF‘s medical director. “For the past two decades, MSF has been responding to hepatitis E outbreaks in displacement camps, trying to control the disease in difficult conditions and seeing the devastating impact on extremely vulnerable communities. With the experience of this vaccination campaign, we hope to change the way we approach hepatitis E in the future.”

March and April

In March and April 2022, MSF and the South Sudanese Ministry of Health jointly carried out the first two rounds of the hepatitis E vaccination campaign in Bentiu. Approximately 25,000 people, including pregnant women, have received the vaccine. A third and final round will take place in October 2022.

John Rumunu

“Given the successful implementation and enthusiastic community response in the first two rounds, this groundbreaking vaccination campaign can serve as an example and be replicated in similar settings handling hepatitis E outbreaks,” said Dr. John Rumunu, CEO of preventive health services in Ministry of Health of South Sudan. “I hope the vaccine will help reduce hepatitis E infections and deaths in Bentiu and beyond.”

South Sudan

Bentiu is the largest displaced persons camp in South Sudan, established in 2014 at the height of the civil war. Today, there are approximately 112,000 people residing there, many of whom have fled recent violence and flooding. MSF has been present in Bentiu since its inception and has seen outbreaks of hepatitis E since 2015. The outbreaks are a result of poor living conditions, including lack of access to adequate water, sanitation and hygiene.

Since July

In 2021, extreme flooding and new influxes of displaced people exacerbated already dire living conditions, increasing the spread of waterborne diseases, including hepatitis E. Since July 2021, MSF has treated 759 patients with confirmed hepatitis E, 17 of whom died. .

World Health Organization

The only available hepatitis E vaccine, Hecolin, has been shown in clinical trials to be highly effective in preventing disease, and the World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended that it be considered for use in outbreak responses since 2015. However Until now, it has only been used individually in China, where it is licensed and used to vaccinate travellers. The vaccination campaign in Bentiu is the first time it has been used in response to a public health emergency.

Melanie Marti

“This is a significant milestone in global efforts to tackle hepatitis E,” said Melanie Marti, medical officer for immunization, vaccines and biologicals at WHO. “This is the first time a vaccine has been used to combat the effects of this potentially devastating disease. This is despite the fact that the vaccine has been licensed for more than a decade, and it has been WHO policy to use it in outbreak settings since then”. 2015. At WHO, we strongly recommend that all countries experiencing an outbreak use the hepatitis E vaccine, including in pregnant women.”

South Sudan Ministry of Health and MSF

The success of the Bentiu vaccination campaign demonstrates that it is possible to use the vaccine to respond to outbreaks, even in difficult conditions. The South Sudan Ministry of Health and MSF are monitoring and reporting on the results of the vaccination campaign. While other outbreak control measures, including improved water and sanitation services, are also needed, health officials believe this vaccination campaign is an important step in reducing the burden of hepatitis E in the future. MSF hopes the campaign will encourage other countries to use the vaccine as part of measures to control hepatitis E outbreaks.

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