The world has not done enough to improve vaccination coverage, and now experiencing measles in almost every corner of the…
The world has not done enough to improve vaccination coverage, and now experiencing measles in almost every corner of the world.
Last year, the number of reported measles cases increased by over 30 percent worldwide, according to a new World Health Organization (WHO) report and the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Experts have warned this year that such a thing might happen. Since measles can be easily prevented by two doses of a vaccine, we need approximately 95 percent coverage to stop outbreaks.
Today, this goal is still a way away. For almost a decade, we have failed to get vaccination coverage beyond the 85 percentage point. And after years of despair, the gaps in the vaccination finally take their tolls.
7, the new report found that five out of all six WHO regions in the world experienced an increase in measles outbreaks, especially in America, Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean. Only in the Western Pacific, the number of measles falls.
“Without urgent efforts to increase vaccination coverage and identify populations with unacceptable levels of under or unimmunized children, we risk losing decades of progress in protecting children and communities from this devastating but completely preventable disease”, warns of Soumya Swaminathan, Deputy Director General for WHO programs.
To really understand what it means to the world, we just need to look back a few generations.
Every year in 1963, when there was no measles vaccine, the world experienced a major measles outbreak for a few years and caused 2.6 million deaths annually.
Five decades later, the world is closer than ever to eliminating this highly contagious and potentially fatal disease. In fact, countries such as the United States, Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Japan have already done so, and many more countries are on the verge of doing the same.
Thanks to this worldwide initiative, since the turn of the century, measles vaccine has saved over 21 million lives, reducing global deaths by 80 percent in just 17 years.
But after many years of progress, things have begun to make a trip to the worst, largely due to lack of funding and increased misinformation.
“The resurgence of measles is of serious concern, with outbreaks occurring across regions, and especially in countries that have reached or were close to reaching measles elimination,” said Swaminathan. 19659002] Looking at measles making a global recurrence is like looking at a character in a horror movie, making stupid decisions in slow motion. As a global society, we know that there is a safe and effective way to eliminate measles at our fingertips, yet we continue to not use the weapon at hand.
Instead, we climb the steep stairs again.
In 2017, the report found that 20.8 million infants worldwide did not receive the first measles vaccine.
“The increase in measles cases is deeply related, but not surprisingly, says Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, Vaccine Alliance.
Most public health experts have seen this for years. Organizations like the WHO and its partners in the Measles & Rubella Initiative has warned that if vaccination rates are not strengthened, this preventable disease can regain.
But with measles that represent much less threat today many nations have become sloppy in their efforts to ensure it is eliminated. In addition, false rumors, misconceptions and myths about the vaccine only served to burn the latest outbreaks.
In Europe, for example, it is very wrong to inform about measles vaccine. The vaccination coverage in some areas is less than 70 percent.
“Completion of the disease and the spread of falsity about the vaccine in Europe , a collapsing health system in Venezuela and pockets of tenderness and low immunization coverage in Africa combines to create a global resurgence of measles after years of progress, explains Berkley.
The authors of the report urge urgent action. They say we need long-term investments so that routine vaccination services can be strengthened, especially among the poorest and most marginalized communities.
At the same time, they claim that we must also ensure public support for immunizations, combat misinformation and doubt about vaccines as much and as soon as possible.
“Existing strategies need to change: more efforts must go into increased routine immunization coverage and strengthen health systems,” argues Berkley.
“Otherwise, we continue to chase an outbreak after another.”
This report was published by the World Health Organization.