450 Deaths a day is still too many - stalled momentum puts millions more children at risk.
Atlanta, GA, Geneva, New York, NY and Washington, DC (Vocus) December 3, 2009 -- The Measles Initiative announced today that measles deaths worldwide fell by 78% between 2000 and 2008, from an estimated 733 000 in 2000 to 164 000 in 2008. However, global immunization experts warn of a resurgence in measles deaths if vaccination efforts are not sustained.
All regions, with the exception of one, have achieved the United Nations goal of reducing measles mortality by 90% from 2000 to 2010, two years ahead of target. Vaccinating nearly 700 million children against measles, through large-scale immunization campaigns and increased routine immunization coverage, has prevented an estimated 4.3 million measles deaths in less than a decade.
“So much has been achieved in the past several years thanks to the hard work and commitment of national governments and donors. But with only two years until the target date, there are signs of stalling momentum,” said Dr. Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General. "This is a highly contagious disease that can quickly take advantage of any lapse in effort."
"We are poised to vaccinate more children than ever in 2010," said Kathy Calvin, Chief Executive Officer for the United Nations Foundation. "Next year, some of the most populous countries: China, Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Nigeria, and Ethiopia are planning national immunization campaigns. We're looking at a pivotal year for measles vaccinations and the financial commitments haven't kept up with the demand."
The Measles Initiative is tackling a funding gap of $59 million for 2010; if unaddressed, this resource gap could allow for a resurgence of measles deaths. Immunization experts fear the combined effect of decreased political and fina
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