Almost 100 million children will be vaccinated in China as part of a massive campaign to eradicate measles, running from September 11 through September 20, 2010. China accounts for 86% of all measles vaccinations in WHO’s Western Pacific region, and logged about 52,000 cases in 2009. Measles is a highly contagious viral disease, and while most people get over it fairly quickly, some suffer serious complications like blindness, encephalitis, severe diarrhea, pneumonia and ear infections. It is the leading cause of vaccine-preventable deaths among young children, and it caused 164,000 deaths worldwide in 2008.
BEIRUT: “Amazing progress” has been made in reducing measles mortality rates and increasing vaccination coverage in the country, the United Nations said in an open letter sent to the Ministry of Public Health on Tuesday.
According to the letter from the UN Foundation, addressed to the Health Minister Mohammad Jawad Khalife, Lebanon has seen over a 90 percent reduction in measles deaths since 2000, falling in line with the regional average.
Lebanon is now nearing a 93 percent immunization coverage rate and is on target to reach 95 percent nationally in the near future, ministry officials said. This is up from an estimated 55 percent vaccination rate in 1997. The rise has been driven largely by extensive media campaigns, national school drives and increased partnership between the public and private sector.
The government also now offers free vaccinations to all children, including non-Lebanese nationals, but with the high cost of the vaccine – it retails at around $100 on the open market – the private sector is encouraged to take on a large chunk of the burden especially in better-off areas.
“We’ve seen a huge jump in vaccinating rates the last ten years,” Randa Hamadeh, immunization and essential medications program manager at the Ministry of Public Health said. “We have worked closely with UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to ensure that we only use the highest quality of vaccine and by purchasing through them we are also able to obtain vaccines at the best possible price.
“We have worked with municipalities and the lowest levels of local government to make sure that the message gets through to everyone. Our approach at working on the sub-national level is helping us reach the areas most in need.”
While national coverage may be high, regional inequality remains prevalent and the government, in partnership with various UN agencies and the Lebanese Order of Physicians, is now striving to make sure that even the peripheries obtain at least a 90 percent immunization coverage rate.
“We urge Lebanon to fully recommit to measles elimination by 2010 and to a possible eradication goal by 2020,” the UN letter read.
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(The Daily Star :: Lebanon News :: http://www.dailystar.com.lb)
Malawi is experiencing what is being described as its worst measles outbreak in a decade. Since January of 2010, 77,000 measles infection cases have been reported, and 195 lives have been lost to this vaccine preventable disease. A massive vaccination campaign, at 4.2-million-dollar (3.3-million-euro) to vaccinate six million children, is being planned and implemented. Hopefully that will bring the infection under control quickly and successfully, as the polio campaign succeeded in doing in Tajikistan. We will keep an eye out for further developments.
- Measles is one of the leading causes of death for children around the world.
- In the year 2000 only 72% of children worldwide had received the first dose (of two) by their first birthday
- In the year 2000 an estimated 733,000 people died of measles worldwide
- In the year 2008 about 83% of children worldwide had received the first dose of measles vaccine by their first birthday
- In the year 2008 an estimated 164,000 people died of measles worldwide, a net gain of over 550,000 lives from 2000
- As high as 10% of measles cases result in death among populations with high levels of malnutrition and a lack of adequate health care.
- More than 10,000,000 people are affected by measles every year
- 1-2 out of every 1,000 children that get measles will die
- Measles can make a pregnant woman have a miscarriage or give birth prematurely
- There are people who claim measles is not a big deal and “natural immunity” via actually getting the disease is to be preferred to vaccinations. Really? When was the last time the measles vaccine caused 733,000 deaths?
Twelve Indonesian children have died after a suspension bridge collapsed as they were taking part in a traditional ceremony to dispel bad luck, a local official said.
The accident took place in a remote village in Aceh.
“There were about 37 kids gathered together on a wire-cable suspension bridge when it collapsed and they fell into a river,” district chief Ibnu Hasyim said.
Twenty-five children were rescued with minor injuries but 12 others – all below the age of 12 – were swept away in strong currents.
The children were watching a ritual ceremony to dispel misfortune after a measles outbreak in the area.