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Measles kills 58 children in Indonesia’s Papua

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Health Desk: 17 January 2018: Indonesian authorities are struggling to contain a months-long outbreak of measles in easternmost Papua province that has killed dozens of children.

Stefanus Lange, a doctor at a state-run hospital in Papua's Asmat district, said Tuesday that cases were first detected in September, but a lack of access to remote areas, insufficient personnel and the high mobility of villagers hampered treatment and vaccination efforts.

Lange said 36 victims died in Pulau Tiga sub-district and 22 died in Agats, the main town, and capital of Asmat district. He did not rule out the possibility of a higher number of victims since reports have not been received from some sub-districts.

Papua and neighboring West Papua are the poorest provinces in Indonesia and home to a decades-old independence movement and armed insurgency. The region is culturally and ethnically distinct from the rest of Indonesia, which annexed it in the early 1960s.

Data from hospitals showed a total of 568 people had been treated for measles since September and 175 required hospitalization.