Somaliland: UNICEF Rolls Out Catch-up Measles Campaign Targeting 1M Children Nationwide


A young girl in Borame Somaliland displays her birth certificate availed courtesy of a UNICEF project


Somaliland sun – “The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) in conjunction with WHO and Somaliland Ministry of Health and rolled one of its main immunization campaign that targets more than a million children living in

According to a press statement by UNKCF The catch-up measles campaign is being undertaken in conjunction with a Birth registration campaigns which will allow the registration of huge numbers of children living in districts and
regions of Somaliland.

In justification of the child registration component of the campaign UNICEF stated ” It is the right of every child to have an official birth certificate providing their name and nationality and it can provide access to education, healthcare and protection and ensure” adding that in Somaliland currently only three out of every 100 babies are registered at birth

Read verbatim excerpts of the UNICEF Press release below titled

Somaliland Measles and Birth Registration campaign December 2015 – January 2016

Quote – In Somaliland – only three out of every 100 babies are registered at birth. It is the right of every child to have an official birth certificate providing their name and nationality and it can provide access to education, healthcare and protection and ensure.

UNICEF supported the Somaliland authorities to pilot birth registration in November 2014 – the first Somali Government civil registration activity since the collapse of the central government in 1991. Since the inception of the current pilot project in late 2014, the target group for birth registration have been new born children who come into contact with the health system (i.e. born in a hospital) in six districts in Somaliland; Borama, Burco, Berbera, Caynabo, Gailay and Hargeisa. To date this has resulted in the registration of just over 5,300 births by the end of November 2015.

Immunizztion campaign kicks off in Borame SomalilandIn order to boost the numbers of children registered – UNICEF is for the first time carrying out a mass campaign bringing together a measles vaccination campaign and civil registration services.

The Somaliland authorities, with health partners UNICEF and WHO are conducting the measles catch up campaign targeting over one million (1,051,054) children aged from 9 months to 9 years.

From December 24-28, all major districts (Hargeisa, Boroma, Berbera, Burao, Lasa-nood and Erigavo districts) will be covered. From December 31-January 4 Gabilley, Baligubadle, Baki, Luhaya, Zeilla, Sheikh, Ainabo, Odwine, Buhodle, Huddun, Taleh, Elafweine and Badan districts will be covered.

As the measles campaign will provide access to a large number of un-registered children in Somaliland, a birth registration campaign is being undertaken in coordination with the measles vaccination campaign. The birth registration campaign will target 270,000 children.

If the coordinated approach goes to plan, this will significantly increase the number of registrations by over 50 times the current registration levels in a very short period of time.

The 1,843vaccination teams (fixed and semi mobile) are made up of two vaccinators (professional nurses) one recorder and one social mobilizer. The social mobilizer will go house to house to provide information. Drama groups will perform in four regional capitals, there will be radio and television announcements, SMS Text Messages by Telesom and Somtel, street announcements by PA-system mounted vehicles, posters and banners.

Somaliland has been hit by an outbreak of measles each year since 2013. Although the rate of vaccination has risen in the past 2 years it is still very low. A household survey in 2011 (MICS) found that only 26 per cent of children had received their measles vaccine by the recommended age of one year, and 38% by 2 years. This year, throughout Somalia there were more than 6000 cases of measles which is thought to be responsible for one in ten (12 per cent) of deaths of Somali children under the age of five.

A) Key highlight of undertaken preparatory activities;

§ Distribution of Vaccine, Supplies & IECs from Hargeisa to regions was done on 18-19 Dec 2015, then all regions confirmed the safe-receipt of the supplies/vaccines

§ All regions has enough Cold chain equipments with no shortfall of cold boxes, vaccine carriers and icepacks.

§ Extra-freezing started all regional cold chains 7 days before the campaign

§ Repacking of vaccine/supplies at regional level done on 22-23/12/2015

§ Selection and training of teams completed on 22nd Dec, but in Burao training will be finalized tomorrow.

§ Regional level pre-mobilization conducted in all regions (as confirmed by RSMCs)

§ National launching event held in Hargeisa on 22nd Dec.

§ Regional ceremonies conducted on 23rd Dec

§ An integrated key Measles+birth registration was shared to the regions, then oriented to the community mobilizers.

A) Regional feedbacks as of today (evening updates):-

§ All UNICEF supervision teams reported safe arrival to the regions

§ Joint MOH/WHO/UNICEF regional meetings started to support the campaign implementation.

§ Phase-1 vaccine/supplies were dispatched on today afternoon, under support of UNICEF supervision teams

§ No major incident so far, except some problem in Eilafwein which is already solved (details in Fatima Hersi report).

§ Phase-1 implementation will start tomorrow(24th Dec) to the target districts in Somaliland, except Burao which will start on 25th (confirmed by Abib and Marian-WHO)-Unquote

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