FACT: An estimated 10 million cases and 164,000 deaths from measles occur each year.
FACT: Measles is a leading cause of vaccine-preventable deaths among young children.
FACT: For every 1,000 children who get measles, one or two will die.
When I came across these chilling statics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), I was surprised by the incidence rate and the severity of a disease that we in the U.S. rarely see. In developing countries, measles is a killer, so I was interested to learn about a program underway in Zimbabwe.
Last week, Dr. Henry Madzorera, Zimbabwe’s Honorable Minister of Health and Child Welfare, launched a week-long nationwide measles immunization campaign. The “Child Health Days” campaign targeted approximately 5 million children aged 6 months to 14 years with the measles vaccination, as well as vitamin A supplementation and all the other recommended antigens for children less than five years of age. This mass immunization campaign came in response to the current measles outbreak that has affected 55 out of 62 districts in Zimbabwe, killing approximately 384 children. (more…)