News

Global Plan to Control Measles Launched

Initiative aims to eliminate deaths from measles, rubella

Laos conducted its first measles-rubella campaign in November 2011. A combined measles-rubella vaccine costs about $1.50. Adding rubella to vaccination programs will help to stop the rubella virus, which can cause devastating birth defects to newborns inc
Laos conducted its first measles-rubella campaign in November 2011. A combined measles-rubella vaccine costs about $1.50. Adding rubella to vaccination programs will help to stop the rubella virus, which can cause devastating birth defects to newborns inc

Multimedia

Audio
Rosanne Skirble

A coalition of global health agencies has announced the start of a new vaccination campaign to eradicate deaths from measles and rubella worldwide.

The launch comes during World Immunization week (April 21-28), which is a U.N.-coordinated effort to focus international attention on the importance of vaccination against deadly diseases.  

Measles, one of the most infectious diseases on the planet, is a leading cause of death and disability among children worldwide, especially in the developing world, even though a safe and cost-effective vaccine is available. The announcement of the new vaccination drive comes with fresh data on measles mortality rates from the World Health Organization.

The WHO is a partner in the new initiative, led also by the American Red Cross, the United Nations Foundation, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the United Nations Children’s Fund, or UNICEF.

Anthony Lake, executive director of UNICEF, says worldwide immunization campaigns have brought the number of measles deaths from 2.5 million in 1980 to just 139,000 today - and produced a 74 percent drop in mortality since 2000. Lake says the vaccines reach about 95 percent of all children, even in remote and impoverished areas.

Vaccinations in Nigeria. Countries in sub-Saharan Africa accounted for 36 percent of global measles deaths in 2010.
Vaccinations in Nigeria. Countries in sub-Saharan Africa accounted for 36 percent of global measles deaths in 2010.

"Really this is one of the most remarkable victories in the history of public health," Lake says. "But, just as that is the good news, the bad news is that measles still claims 382 lives, every day, the vast majority of them children under five.  And every one of them could have been saved by two doses of a 22-cent vaccine.”

Within the next three years, the new strategy aims to cut global measles infections by 95 percent from their 2000 level. A second goal is to eradicate rubella by 2020 in five regions of the world.

WHO director of immunizations Jean Marie Okwo Bele believes there is reason to be optimistic.

"We have seen the great progress made in China that has led to all of that region, [the] western Pacific region, to be close to eliminating measles in the very near future," Okwo Bele says. "We have seen India scaling up this effort and we have also seen that several outbreaks in southern Africa are being now controlled.”

The new initiative encourages some 62 countries not vaccinating against rubella to do so with a combination measles-rubella shot. This would ensure that no infant is born with a rubella-related congenital disease, which can range from heart defects to deafness and blindness.   

The plan also calls for high vaccination coverage, disease monitoring and surveillance, rapid response to outbreaks, disease research and development of new diagnostic tools.

David Meltzer, senior vice president of International Services at the American Red Cross, says coordinated community engagement is essential to make the plan work.   

“It starts at the government, often the head of state publicizing community health days," he says. "There is use of traditional media, social media, organizing entertainment venues to bring the people out from their homes and into the community and in many countries it is utilizing community-based organizations, in particular the Red Cross and the Red Crescent or often the neighbors of the mothers. And they go door to door encouraging the mothers to bring their children out to the vaccination posts.”

But funding is down, says Kathy Calvin, CEO of the United Nations Foundation, another partner in the inoculation initiative. She says an additional $112 million is needed to achieve the global measles and rubella goal by 2015.  

“We need everyone, from world leaders to individuals to step up their commitment to stop measles and rubella, if we are going to meet our goal.”

Calvin adds that a small donation from people worldwide can go a long way and help save many lives.   

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: End time servant
April 25, 2012 3:57 AM
You people and many others are being used and abused by these evil vaccines history has already proved it god help you people and your children

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs