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J Infect Dis. 2011 Jul;204 Suppl 1:S14-7. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jir075.

The Measles Initiative: moving toward measles eradication.

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  • 1American Red Cross--International Services, NW3-117C, 2025 E St NW, Washington, DC 20006, USA. christieat@usa.redcross.org


The World Health Assembly should establish a target date for measles eradication based on continued progress toward existing mortality reduction goals. We have a safe, effective, and inexpensive vaccine; a proven elimination strategy; high country demand; and an effective global partnership. Since it was founded in 2001, the Measles Initiative has supported the vaccination of >900 million children in supplementary immunization activities. Largely as a result, global measles deaths decreased by 78% between 2000 and 2008, averting an estimated 4.3 million deaths. The Measles Initiative has exceeded its targets and evolved to address increasingly ambitious goals. The current challenges include a decline in funding and weak routine immunization systems in some countries. Skeptics of measles eradication raise 3 main objections: the yet-to-be-achieved polio eradication goal, the high cost, and the impact on health systems. These are important concerns that can be addressed with judicious program planning. All 6 World Health Organization regions have committed to measles elimination, and 5 have set a target date. The World Health Assembly has endorsed interim targets toward eradication, and an independent global measles advisory group has determined measles can and should be eradicated. A target date for eradication will focus efforts and capitalize on the achievements of the last decade.

Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Infectious Diseases Society of America 2011.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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