Elimination of measles set back by major global outbreak

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Children waiting to be vaccinated in Kenya: WHO

Children waiting to be vaccinated in Kenya: WHO

A deadly resurgence of measles is taking place worldwide with large outbreaks reported in Africa, Europe and Asia, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

In Sub Saharan Africa an estimated 19 million children under the age of five did not receive the measles vaccine in 2010.

WHO says poor public health systems coupled with lack of financial support to procure vaccines and waning political support was pulling down gains made in the control and treatment of measles.

WHO says in the 10 years between 2000 and 2010 increased routine immunization in Sub Saharan Africa had managed to reduce deaths as a result of measles by up to 85 per cent.

WHO in collaboration with the UN Children's Fund UNICEF and other partners have developed a new initiative to keep the momentum in the control and elimination of measles moving forward.

Dr Peter Strebel is from the World Health Organization.

"We remain optimistic because there is new energy and focus to achieve the 2015 measles mortality goals and go even further on to eliminate measles and rubella. However challenges remain that include weak immunization systems, country's with large dense populations and high migration, vaccine hesitancy particularly in some industrialized countries and civil unrest which limits access to children. To address these challenges the partners in the measles and rubella initiative have developed a new strategic plan and the plan includes new global goals, so that by the end of 2015, the goal is to reduce measles mortality by 95 per cent compared to 2000 levels. And by the end of 2020 achieve measles and rubella elimination in at least five of the six WHO regions."

Duration 46"

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