As measles wards shut down all over the African continent, a long-term budget item in many hospitals can be freed up to save children from other diseases.
“We now have the opportunity to replicate this successful model as we tackle other child killers such as malaria,?Bellamy said, noting that in late 2004, Togo’s children received four life-saving interventions at once. The landmark campaign reached over 95% of the children under-five with vaccines to prevent measles and polio, mosquito nets to prevent malaria and de-worming tablets.
Millions of children still remain at risk from measles. Malnourished and un-immunized children under five years of age, especially infants, are at high risk of contracting measles and are more vulnerable to death. The vast majority of measles deaths are found in low-income countries. Each year more than 130 million children are born and "we must reach each and every one with measles vaccination," said Dr LEE.
The strong support of the Measles Initiative has been an important factor in the marked reduction of measles deaths in Africa. Launched in 2001, this successful partnership's core founding members are WHO, UNICEF, the American Red Cross, the United Nations Foundation and the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention of the United States Department of Health and Human Services.. Since 2001, the Initiative has mobilized more than US $144 million and has helped African countries vaccinate over 150 million children against measles.
Other key partners include the governments of Australia, Canada, Japan and the United Kingdom as well as the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.