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The Measles Initiative 2007

© Credit must be given: UNICEF/ HQ00-0037/Jim Holmes
EAST TIMOR: On 22 January, a girl is immunized against measles by a UNICEF-assisted mobile
The Measles Initiative, launched in 2001, represents a long-term commitment and partnership among leaders in public health to support  the goal of reducing measles deaths worldwide by 90 per cent by 2010 compared to 2000 estimates. Measles Initiative partners include the American Red Cross, UN Foundation, CDC, World Health Organization, and UNICEF.  

To learn more, visit http://www.measlesinitiative.org/ 

Measles deaths have fallen by 60 per cent globally since 1999 – a major public health success. This exceeds the United Nations goal to halve measles deaths between 1999 and 2005 and is largely due to an unprecedented decline in measles deaths in the African region.  The progress was announced on 18 January 2007 by the Measles Initiative partners.
According to data from WHO, global measles deaths fell from an estimated 873,000 deaths in 1999 to 345,000 in 2005.  In Africa, the progress has been even greater, with measles deaths falling by 75 per cent, from an estimated 506,000 to 126,000.  Despite the progress, measles remains a leading vaccine-preventable childhood killer. Millions of children still remain at risk and many children, particularly under the age of five, will die from it.  But measles can be easily prevented with a simple vaccination that costs less than one dollar per child.

During its first five years (2001-2005), the Initiative was the main international supporter of mass measles immunization campaigns globally that led to the vaccination of more than 360 million children, predominantly in Africa.  Building on its success in Africa, the Initiative has expanded into Asia. The measles campaigns the Initiative supports increasingly provide additional life-saving health interventions in its campaigns, including Vitamin A, de-worming medicine and insecticide-treated bed nets for malaria prevention.

The Measles Initiative will support WHO's 47 priority countries and the Global Immunization Vision and Strategy goal to reduce global measles deaths by 90 per cent by 2010 compared to the 2000 levels. The Measles Initiative will heavily focus on the three countries that account for the majority of global measles deaths: India, Pakistan and Nigeria.

For further information, please contact:

Angela Hawke, Press Officer, UNICEF NY: Tel + 1 212-326-7269; email ahawke@unicef.org
Jessie Malter, Press Officer, UNICEF NY: Tel 1 212-326-7412; email jmalter@unicef.org

Related press releases and news notes:

14 January 2007 - Myanmar joins global measles-control effort

1 November 2006 - Ghana’s bid to save 20,000 young lives

7 August 2006 - Measles vaccination campaign faces up to challenges of ongoing Lebanon conflict

4 August 2006 - UNICEF and partners begin immunisation campaign for children displaced by the Lebanon conflict

12 July 2006 - Bringing hope to Angolan children




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