Measles deaths worldwide fell by 74% between 2000 and 2007, from an estimated 750,000 to 197,000. In addition, the Eastern Mediterranean region which includes countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, and the Sudan has cut measles deaths by a remarkable 90% — from an estimated 96,000 to 10,000 — during the same period, thus achieving the United Nations goal to reduce measles deaths by 90% by 2010, three years early.
The progress was announced today by the founding partners of the Measles Initiative: the American Red Cross, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the United Nations Foundation (UN Foundation), UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO). The data will be published in the 5 December edition of WHO’s Weekly Epidemiological Record and CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. [emphasis mine]
This is a truly remarkable achievement. Measles is one of those diseases (like Malaria and to a lesser extent Polio) that has basically been eliminated in the developed world but is still causing havoc on lives and health systems in the developing world. The thing is, a potentially life-saving measles vaccine only costs about $1.
The Measles Initiative’s goal is to reduce global measles deaths by 90% in 2010. As today’s excellent news shows this goal is within reach. Here is how you can help.
Check out this video for more on the danger posed by measles and what the Measles Initiative is doing to stop it.