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Measles Initiative Supports Disease Prevention for Children in China's Earthquake Zone
Date:11/10/2008

Providing life-saving immunization in aftermath of earthquake

WASHINGTON, Nov. 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Measles Initiative is supporting the government of the People's Republic of China in providing measles vaccines to more than 7.3 million children, implementing additional measles control activities and strengthening the delivery of routine immunization in the provinces of Chongqing, Gansu, Sha'anxi and Sichuan -- areas severely impacted by the 8.0 magnitude earthquake that struck six months ago.

"Given the scope of this disaster, which affected 46 million people, it is vital that we continue to protect children who have been made vulnerable to infectious diseases like measles," said David Meltzer, Senior Vice President of International Services for the American Red Cross. "By supporting these activities, we will ensure that millions of children receive life-saving vaccinations, while also helping to restore the health infrastructure in the affected region."

The devastating earthquake took the lives of more than 70,000 people, and left some 15 million homeless. It also destroyed buildings and infrastructure, including health and immunization facilities. The Initiative is helping restore and strengthen these health systems, including replacing immunization infrastructure, conducting trainings, supporting school-age vaccinations, expanding outreach to unimmunized children, and conducting disease surveillance and outbreak investigations.

The Measles Initiative is providing technical assistance and nearly $4 million in financial support for these activities including a vaccination campaign in Chongqing province where there continues to be a high incidence of measles. This campaign will protect the children of Chongqing and minimize the risk of introducing measles in Sichuan province, the area hardest hit by the quake.

"Because measles has a high potential for outbreaks, mass vaccination of children against the disease
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SOURCE American Red Cross
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