Immunization

UN Foundation commits $20 million to eradicate measles worldwide

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© UNICEF video
UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman welcomed the UN Foundation’s commitment of $20 million to the Measles Initiative. At left is Bo Stenson, of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization. At right is Edward J. Ludwig, Chairman of Becton, Dickinson and Company.

By Kun Li

NEW YORK, 2 November 2005 – UN Foundation Chairman Ted Turner has announced a new commitment of $20 million to the Measles Initiative, an effort supported by UNICEF and partners to eradicate measles worldwide. UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman welcomed the move, saying, “It's a major vote of confidence in the effectiveness of this partnership.”

The announcement came at a press conference held at the Time Global Health Summit, which is taking place 1-3 November in New York.

UNICEF Image
© UNICEF video
In 2003, nearly half a million children under 5 died from measles worldwide, most of them in Africa.

It’s largely forgotten, but measles is still the leading cause of vaccine-preventable death among children. In 2003, nearly half a million children under 5 died from measles worldwide, most of them in Africa.

"Fighting measles is key to reducing child deaths," said Ms. Veneman. "By expanding this initiative to reach more children and using measles campaigns to deliver other lifesaving health services, we can save many more lives in the years ahead."

A million children’s lives saved

Partners in the Measles Initiative include the American Red Cross, the UN Foundation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, and UNICEF. The Initiative has helped immunize some 200 million children in Africa against the disease during the past 5 years. It is estimated that the lives of a million children have been saved as a result.

UNICEF Image
© UNICEF video
UN Foundation Chairman Ted Turner announced a new commitment of $20 million to the Measles Initiative.

"We hope these funds will mobilize more partners and supporters to help in this cause. The Measles Initiative has had tremendous success in reducing measles deaths and we can’t stop now," said Mr. Turner.

The new funds from the UN Foundation will help sustain the momentum of the Initiative. More vaccination campaigns are planned for Africa. The campaigns will also soon expand into high measles burden countries in Asia. Bangladesh is scheduled to launch a massive measles campaign to immunize 35 million children – the largest yet in any country.

UNICEF and WHO have set a target of reducing measles deaths by half by the end of 2005; thanks to the success of the worldwide effort, this goal is within reach.


 

 

Video

2 November 2005:
UNICEF correspondent Kun Li reports on the $20 million commitment by the UN Foundation to help the Measles Initiative eradicate the disease worldwide.

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