In Somalia, a wives’ tale delays measles treatment

Thursday, June 12, 2014

MOGADISHU, Somalia — Hawa Nor carried her visibly weakened son into the hospital’s isolation ward. Like many sick children here, the 7-year-old boy is likely a victim of an old Somali wives’ tale: A child with measles should be kept inside, and away from the doctor, for a week.

Abdullahi Hassan labored to breathe, and his eyesight is deteriorating.

“Even though we kept him at home for a week, he’s getting weaker,” Nor tells the pediatrician.

Somalia is suffering from an outbreak of measles that the World Health Organization and the U.N. children’s agency labels “extremely alarming.” UNICEF reported 1,350 suspected cases of measles in March and April, a figure four times higher than the same period last year. Another 1,000 cases were reported in May.

Source: The Washington Post (link opens in a new window)

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