‘A global measles crisis’ is well underway, UN agency chiefs warn

World Bank/Dominic Chavez Nurse at Redemption Hospital in Monrovia, Liberia, prepares to vaccinate children.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.


Noting a 300 per cent surge in the number of measles cases during the first three months of this year, compared to the same period last year, two UN agency heads declared on Monday that we now stand “in the middle of a global measles crisis”.

“Cases have soared across the world, including in places where measles had previously been eliminated, like the United States”, asserted Henrietta Fore, Executive Director of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO).

Measles is almost entirely preventable through two doses of a safe and effective vaccine, despite being highly contagious. The UN agency chiefs painted “an alarming picture” of the rate of infection, saying that “by the time you finish reading this, we estimate that at least 40 people – most of them children – will be infected by this fast-moving, life-threatening disease”.

A clear and dangerous trend

Following two years of consecutive increases, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Madagascar, Myanmar, Philippines, Sudan, Thailand and Ukraine, are all in the midst of current outbreaks. It is also spreading fast among clusters of people, who are resisting vaccination, in countries with high overall vaccination rates, including the United States, Israel, Thailand and Tunisia.

“We’re worried not only because measles can be so severe, it still causes over 100,000 deaths every year, but also because it is extremely contagious” said the agency chiefs.

Referring to measles as “the canary in the coalmine of vaccine preventable illnesses”, the UNICEF and WHO heads explained that “around the world, millions of children are still missing out on lifesaving vaccines, leaving them and their communities vulnerable to disease and deadly outbreaks”.

Living in countries where healthcare systems are challenged by poverty and conflict, many lack access to effective vaccines.  But “in several high- and middle-income countries”, the UN agency heads lamented, “there are parents who are delaying or refusing to vaccinate their children because they’re unsure of the need for vaccines or that vaccines are safe”.

Moreover, the UN agencies revealed that uncertainty is often fueled by confusing, contradictory online information, which spreads fast, with harmful content transmitted on digital channels; amplified by algorithms that reward controversy and clicks; and exploited by anti-vaccine activists to sow

Additionally, scientists and health advocates have even been harassed for sharing information, according to the agencies, while unproven so-called vaccine alternatives are being marketed for profit.

‘Collective’ response needed

“It is a collective responsibility to support parents and build a more positive environment for vaccination, on and offline”, the UNICEF and WHO chiefs said.

Both agencies welcomed initial steps taken by digital companies, including Facebook and Amazon, to quarantine myths over vaccination safety, but say “it will take much more…to make sure all children get their vaccines at the right time”.

To reverse the trend, they flagged that everyone must advocate for vaccines, including by promoting scientific literacy on health and vaccines.

“It means governments must invest in primary care and immunization, and make sure these services are affordable, accessible and truly responsive to parents’ needs, especially those in the poorest, most disadvantaged communities” the two stressed.

For their part, WHO and UNICEF, are working with other partners, such as the Vaccine Alliance, a public-private partnership known as Gavi, to ensure that vaccines reach more people in more countries than ever before.

“It will take long-term efforts, political commitment and continuous investment, in vaccine access, in service quality and in trust, to ensure we are, and remain, protected together”, said the agency heads.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

The EU Parliament backs the ‘Right2Water’ initiative all the way through

Move over G7. The future belongs to a more inclusive G20

Better protection against non-cash payment fraud

MEPs approve boost to workers’ rights in the gig economy

UN and African Union in ‘common battle’ for development and climate change financing

Is the West gradually losing Africa?

Accelerating a more sustainable industrial revolution with digital manufacturing

The EU can afford to invest trillions in support of employment

The JADE Spring Meeting is about to begin

Let the Italians have it their way, it may be good for all Eurozone

Four lessons for a successful switch to value-based healthcare

Strong multilateral institutions key to tackling world’s dramatic challenges, UN chief says In Moscow

6th Edition of India m2m + iot Forum to open its door on 14th January, in association with The European Sting

Global Leaders Take The Stage At MWC Shanghai 2019, in association with The European Sting

‘Be the change’ we desperately need, UN deputy chief urges global youth

‘Global trust’ declining, ‘our world needs stepped-up global leadership’

5 ways to go green in your own kitchen

Preparing for developing countries the ‘Greek cure’

COP21 Breaking News_05 December: Children Will Bear the Brunt of Climate Change: UNICEF

Innovation and Entrepreneurship Changing the Face of Europe

Generation Z will outnumber Millennials by 2019

Progress in medical research: leading or lagging behind?

Estonian Prime Minister Ratas: Europe is a thought that must become a feeling

Why economic growth depends on closing the interview gap

Mexico must increase foreign bribery enforcement: full implementation of anti-corruption reforms could help

Commission hardens its stance against carmakers ensuring emissions reductions targets

Drawing scenarios for drifting Britain; elections or May’s deadlock?

Nearly 900 reportedly killed following ‘shocking’ intercommunal attacks in DR Congo

FROM THE FIELD: Weaving profits in Azerbaijan

Where are people most proud to be European?

Eight years in, Syria still embroiled in conflict ‘that no longer sparks outrage’, Security Council hears

Why a healthy planet and a healthy economy go hand-in-hand

Biggest London City Banks ready to move core European operations to Frankfurt or Dublin?

To all far-right partisans who exploit Charlie Hebdo atrocity: a peaceful reply given by a peaceful student

Britain heading to national schism on exit from EU

Crucial medical supplies airlifted to north-east Syria to meet ‘desperate need’

IMF: The near-term outlook for the U.S. economy is one of strong growth and job creation

DR Congo: Electoral process advancing despite threat of armed groups, UN envoy tells Security Council

Execution of juvenile offender in Iran ‘deeply distressing’ – UN rights chief

‘Let the children live’: UN prepares to ramp up food aid to Yemen as famine risk grows

UN chief condemns killing of ‘blue helmets’ in DR Congo, as violence erupts prior to elections

UN Security Council offers Yemen Special Envoy ‘their full support’

‘Internal security’ or how to compromise citizens’ rights and also make huge profits

This robot has soft hands. It could be the future of sustainable production

Press coverage of migration crisis in Europe: a call for collaborative action

Brexit: Six more months of political paralysis or a May-Corbyn compromise?

This is what great leadership looks like in the digital age

“If they think they can slave an entire nation, then they will just have the opposite results!”, Alexis Tsipras cries out from the Greek parliament

When did globalization begin? The answer might surprise you

Artificial intelligence: Commission takes forward its work on ethics guidelines

Syria: Guterres concerned over reported attacks in Idlib, calls for ‘full investigation’

EU, Latin America and the Caribbean: Partnering for prosperity, democracy, resilience and global governance

Methane levels are increasing – and scientists aren’t sure why

The European Youth explains the age gap in European business in the 21st century

Flexible jobs can make work-life balance worse, a German study finds

While EU Open Days 2013 discuss the 2020 strategy, Microsoft shares a glimpse of EU 2060

Moving from commitment to action on LGBTI equality

UNICEF welcomes Bangladesh statement that Rohingya will not be forced to leave

How tiny countries top social and economic league tables (and win at football, too)

World’s Press Calls on the United Kingdom to Address Press Freedom Concerns

More Stings?

Trackbacks

  1. […] ‘A global measles crisis’ is well underway, UN agency chiefs warn  The European Sting […]

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s