UNICEF e-newsletter

Global partnership reports unprecedented decline in measles deaths 30 January 2007

The Measles Initiative – one of many global partnerships in which UNICEF plays a leading role – has announced dramatic progress in the fight against a major childhood killer disease.

Deaths from measles dropped by 60 per cent worldwide over a five-year period, with an estimated 2.3 million lives saved through intensified efforts to vaccinate millions of children, according to new data from the World Health Organization (WHO).

Between 1999 and 2005, more than 360 million children under the age of 15 were immunized as a result of campaigns in 45 priority countries. The total number of deaths from measles fell from 873,000 to 345,000 a year.

This unprecedented decline is a historic victory for public health.

The encouraging news about measles comes some five years after the Measles Initiative partnership was formed by UNICEF, WHO, the American Red Cross, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the United Nations Foundation.

But in spite of this success, the disease remains a leading cause of vaccine-preventable deaths among children. Over the coming years, increased attention will be paid to countries in South Asia with large numbers of measles deaths.

The new goal of the Measles Initiative is to achieve a 90 per cent reduction in measles deaths worldwide by 2010.

For every child
Health, Education, Equality, Protection


A young girl in Southern Sudan receives a measles vaccination.

Video: UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Sir Roger Moore on the success of the Measles Initiative.
Play Video  highlow (Real Player) 

Related Links:

Joint press release: Global goal to reduce measles deaths surpassed

Measles deaths decreased by more than half

Reducing measles mortality



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