At least fifteen children died in South Sudan in early May after health workers vaccinating them against measles used the same syringe without sterilizing it, the health minister said today.
Health Minister Riek Gai Kok said about three hundred children were vaccinated between the second and fifth of May in Nacholdokopele village in Eastern Equatorial state, another thirty-two of whom have recovered after falling ill with symptoms including fever, vomiting and diarrhea.
Kok told a news conference that he stated that the team that vaccinated the children in this tragic event were neither qualified nor trained for the immunization campaign. A report prepared by a committee of specialists found the children had died from severe sepsis toxicity as a result of the vaccine’s contamination, caused by repeated use of an unsterilized syringe.
Oil-producing South Sudan, which became independent in 2011, has struggled to provide basic services such as healthcare since it descended into civil war in December 2013.