7 March 2024 - Burkina Faso

BURKINA FASO: Over 2,000 children diagnosed with suspected measles in nationwide outbreak

Save the Children press release

OUAGADOUGOU, 7 March 2024 - Over 2,000 children in Burkina Faso are suspected to have contracted measles in the past four months as a deadly outbreak spreads across the country, Save the Children said, calling for greater support for affected communities.  

Since the outbreak started last November, the country has recorded more than 2,000 suspected measles cases – nearly the same amount as for all of 2023 - including seven deaths. Children aged between one and 15 account for 96% of cases, according to the country’s public health institute. 

The outbreak shows no signs of abating, with about 1,700 cases recorded in February alone, and cases continuing to rise every week. The capital Centre region has been the most affected, with about 37% of reported cases.  

Measles is one of the world’s most contagious diseases, which, if untreated, can cause blindness, pneumonia, and death. In typical cases, symptoms include a high fever, cough, and a rash. In pregnant women, contracting measles raises the risk of miscarriage and premature birth. 

While measles is preventable with two doses of a vaccine, Save the Children data shows that unvaccinated individuals accounted for nearly 90% of the confirmed measles cases.  

Globally, measles cases surged 79% in 2023 compared to the previous year, according to WHO, mainly due missed vaccinations and overwhelmed health systems during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Burkina Faso is prone to measles outbreaks, with the country reporting 2,190 measles cases in 2023, 252 cases in 2022, 3,866 cases in 2021, and 2,480 cases in 2020. 

Save the Children is calling for the continued mobilisation of healthcare professionals, including doctors and nurses, to provide crucial support in districts affected by the outbreak, as well as awareness in other regions on the prevention of the epidemic.  

Benoit Delsarte, Save the Children Country Director in Burkina Faso, said:  

"It is urgent to stop this disease for the well-being of children, their parents and communities. Save the Children commends the prevention and care measures taken by the government and its partners, while calling for greater mobilisation to provide crucial support to the districts affected by the epidemic and to strengthen the vaccination programme already underway”. 

Save the Children has been working in Burkina Faso since 1982, with programs in child health, education, and protection. These programmes focus on improving maternal and child health, addressing malnutrition and food insecurity, promoting school enrolment particularly for girls, ending child marriage, and keeping children safe, as well as raising awareness of children’s rights. 


For further enquiries please contact:

Anna Rauhanen anna.rauhanen@savethechildren.org

Kunle Olawoyin Kunle.Olawoyin@savethechildren.org

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