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September 26, 2016 / 23 Elul, 5776
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Israeli Docs Vaccinate African Refugees

Israeli embassy initiates mass vaccinations for refugees; overcrowded camps create rife atmosphere for disease
Those who need care can least afford it: African refugees.

Those who need care can least afford it: African refugees.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Not sure the people of Cameroon will be signing up for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign any time soon: The Israeli Embassy, together with the Cameroon Pediatric Association, set up a health clinic in the Gado Refugee Camp, near Garoua Boulai in eastern Cameroon.

According to a report on AllAfrica.com, more than 5,000 refugee children from Central African Republic, received polio vaccinations in Gado Camp near Garoua Boulai in Lom and Djerem Division of the East Region.

The website said the clinic lasted five days, from June 8 to 12. Doctors provided free consolations and medication to children under 15 by a team of four paediatricians.

According to Nadav Cohen, Israel’s ambassador to Cameroon, the clinic was an unmitigated success. Cohen said he would continue to try to raise funding for similar projects to assist the refugees.

One local pediatrician, Dr Ngosso Tetanye Issa, told All Africa that plans originally included clinics at three local refugee camps, but they eventually decided to focus on the Gado Camp because there were simply not enough resources to provide aid to all affected camps.

Gado Camp is home to 19,000 people, 12,000 are children under 15.

Another doctor, Tchakoute Collins, said malnutrition threatens the lives of children and adults in the camp every day.

“Even the parents are malnourished, including breastfeeding mothers,” Tchakoute said. Tchakoute added that although international aid groups a doing excellent work, he said the daily influx of refugees – 5,000 new bodies a day – is simply too much for the aid groups to handle.

Dr Ehouzou Marcelle Nina said the refugees are at a particularly high risk to infectious diseases. In order to reduce such risks of contamination, the report said that regional health authorities have set up vaccination units at 29 border crossing points to treat refugees before they reach the camps.

According to United Nations statistics, there are about 62,245 refugees in eastern Cameroon, 20 percent of whom are children under five years.

Meir Halevi Siegel

About the Author: Meir is a news writer for JewishPress.com - and he loves his job.

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