Growing up, my parents worried that I would tumble and break my arm or suffocate when I fell asleep in my mashed potatoes (true story); they never had to worry that I would contract measles because we had easy access to vaccines.
Many children around the world aren’t as lucky, and as a recent measles outbreak in Texas reminds us, this disease is still very much a threat in the world.
Here are six reasons to care about the fight against measles and how you can help.
430 children die of measles every day. In fact, measles is one of the top killers in the world of children under the age of 5.
The World Health Organization recommends every child get two doses of the measles vaccine, but in 2011, an estimated 20 million children didn’t even get a first dose. To reach children and stop measles in its track, it’s important for countries to incorporate the measles vaccine in their routine health services. While this is happening more and more, many of the world’s poorest children are being left behind – putting their lives at risk.
It only costs about $1 to vaccinate a child against measles. Vaccines are one of the most cost-effective solutions we have to protect children from deadly diseases.
1.1 billion doses of the measles vaccine have been given to children since 2001. 2001 was also when a global partnership called the Measles Initiative (now the Measles & Rubella Initiative) was launched. Working with 80 countries, this partnership has helped vaccinate children and drive progress against measles.
Measles deaths have decreased by 71% worldwide since 2000. Global measles vaccination coverage has also increased to 84 percent.
The measles vaccine alone is responsible for preventing the deaths of about 1 in 5 children since 1990. In the coming decade, the Measles & Rubella Initiative expects the vaccine to prevent more than 13 million deaths.