Liberia: Measles Outbreak - Emergency Plan of Action (EPoA), DREF n° MDRLR006


A. Situation analysis

Description of the disaster

On Thursday 21 April 2022, Liberia Health Ministry declared a measles outbreak affecting 14 of the 15 counties in the country. According to the Liberian Government, the outbreak is a result of low immunization rates, due to disruption of immunization activities for COVID-19 and people’s misconception on immunization. The latter, especially linked with the fear of parents to have their children inoculated with COVID-19 vaccine, rather than the measles one.

According to the Liberian Ministry of Health (MoH), the case threshold for measles outbreak corresponds to three to five cases reported in a single location in seven days. Per the National Public Health Institute’s weekly update on Liberia Public Health Surveillance & Response System, covering the period 4 -10 April 2022 (Report week 14) Montserrado County only accounted for 135 cases and 03 deaths. Moreover, two County Health Teams, Nimba and Grand Bassa reported on 22 April respectively 230 and 91 cases. Total cumulative cases from these counties accounted for 456 cases including, 189 probable and 236 suspected.

Measles is endemic in Liberia. However, the rapid increase in number of cases and geographical scope of the outbreak highlights a spike in cases, with a need to increase and enhance the vaccination of children under five years of age.

On 2 May 2022, the Ministry of Health called on the attention of the national government to mobilize resources to strengthen the health system in responding to the outbreak.

Per the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United States Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is a 79% increase in measles cases across the world. As such, although the situation of Liberia is not unique, if resources are not mobilized, the already fragile health system will not be able to respond to the consequences of an outbreak.