Measles Initiative Needs Funds to Avert Rise in Measles Deaths
Lack of funds may stall the Measles Initiative, a multi-organization program designed to reduce the worldwide mortality of measles. Despite the fact that all regions, except for Southeast Asia, have achieved the United Nations goal of reducing measles mortality by 90% from 2000 to 2010 (and have, thereby, prevented 12.7 million measles deaths), the reduction in measles mortality has leveled off since 2007, and the Initiative is facing a funding gap of $59 million, reports the World Health Organization. (WHO’s complementary report on the progress toward reducing measles-related deaths can be found in the latest issue of the MMWR.)
Lack of financial resources could suspend the Initiative’s pivotal vaccination efforts next year in densely populated regions like China, Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Nigeria, and Ethiopia. And because measles is highly contagious, the disease can flourish rapidly if immunity is lacking, report WHO officials.
Although measles-related deaths fell 78% globally, from 733,000 in 2000 to 164,000 in 2008, 77% of last year’s deaths (126,000) occurred in Southeast Asia. Experts fear that there could be a significant uptick in measles-related deaths, to an estimated 1.7 million between 2010 and 2013, if vaccination efforts do not continue.
§ 95% uncertainty intervals.