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Global Goal to Reduce Measles Deaths in Children Surpassed

oals. We must urgently build on this momentum with integrated community-based health programmes to help save the lives of more than 10 million children who die of preventable causes every year.”

There is still some way to go in the fight against one of the world’s most contagious diseases. Of the estimated 345 000 measles deaths in 2005, 90% were among children under the age of five and many dying as a result of complications related to severe diarrhoea, pneumonia and encephalitis.

The challenge now is to reach a new global goal: the reduction of global measles deaths by 90% by 2010, compared to 2000 levels. This means that the gains made in countries that have implemented accelerated measles control strategies must be sustained, and similar strategies must be implemented in countries with high numbers of measles deaths, such as India and Pakistan.

“How could we deny the gift -- and the right -- of growing up to millions of children?” said Bonnie McElveen-Hunter, Chairman of the American Red Cross. “Today, more than 100 000 Red Cross Movement volunteers are delivering that gift in Africa alone. Thanks to the great generosity and dedication of our donors and partners, entire communities have been reached with life-saving health information, saved from the pain of measles by neighbours who care enough to encourage them to get vaccinated. We see children in America willing to share their allowance money with their unseen neighbours in Africa, neighbours they will never know. The American Red Cross is proud to be part of a mission where so many young lives have been saved and we look forward to helping save millions more.”

“The success of the Measles Initiative has added to the confidence of national governments and donor partners to undertake public-private partnerships to make a significant impact on disease prevention,” said Kathy Bushkin Calvin, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the United Nation
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