VIDEO: Greece Vaccinates Migrants against Hepatitis at Refugee Camp

Thu Mar 17, 2016 20:05:20

The Greek government carries out vaccinations on some migrants against hepatitis A at the camp on the Greek-Macedonian border after one child was diagnosed with the disease as a 10-day-old baby begins life in the transit camp.

Mobile medical units from Greece's National Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (KEELPNO) carried out hepatitis vaccinations on Thursday (March 17) in the makeshift camp on Greece's border with Macedonia after one Syrian child was diagnosed with hepatitis A.

"We came here after the hepatitis A case with the Syrian girl who is being treated at Ipokratio hospital, in order to selectively vaccinate those people that came into close contact with the girl," said KEELPNO President Thanasis Yannopoulos at Idomeni.

A nine-year old Syrian girl was diagnosed with Hepatitis A on March 11 in the camp, according to KEELPNO. She was taken to hospital in the city of Thessaloniki. Her family was of the first to be vaccinated on Thursday.

According to the World Health Organization, Hepatitis A is a virus which is transmitted through ingestion of contaminated food and water, or through direct contact with an infectious person. It is normally associated with a lack of safe water or poor sanitation.

To ensure water quality, seven water transportation vehicles, three deployed by the Greek army, have started operating in Idomeni, according to the government.

Illness in the camp is on the rise, say volunteer doctors and humanitarian organizations, with many migrants, particularly children, suffering from fevers, colds, coughs, gastro-enteritis and respiratory problems.

More than 40 percent of the camp's inhabitants are children and infants. There have been a number of pregnant women in the camp, who have gone to nearby hospitals to give birth and then returned with their newborn babies back to the camp, as they have nowhere else to go.

One of those mothers was Shukria Al Baker, a 19-year-old from Idlib with her newborn baby daughter Zainab who is ten days old. She returned to the camp on Wednesday after undergoing a cesarean section in a regional hospital. Baker had been in the camp for 20 days. Her husband's family is in Germany and she had hoped to reach there before giving birth.

"The tent was flooding with water and as that happened I went into labour. The Red Cross took me to the hospital. I spent seven days in the hospital, then they sent me back here. I quickly got sick again because of the conditions here, so they took me back to the hospital."

Baker is worried for her newborn daughter's health in the camp because of the conditions.

"There's no clean water, no food, and I can't breast-feed her. Even food isn't available. (I'm worried) from everything, even the smoke of the burning wood." she said, adding, "All I ask is that they (EU leaders) be merciful for the children here, and let us in already. There are children dying, thank God my daughter wasn't affected, but there are children with me in the hospital who are dying because of the conditions here," AP reported.

S/SH 11

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