“I commend the doctors from the Indian Academy of Pediatrics for their cogent editorial ‘Accelerating Measles Control in India: Opportunity and Obligation to Act Now.’ Their roadmap for controlling measles, and acknowledgement of the associated challenges, urge India to begin the immunizations effort as early as possible in 2010. I am encouraged by my fellow private sector leaders in India who demonstrate how our efforts can support our government’s work in addressing global challenges such as protecting our children from this highly contagious and deadly disease.
“An estimated 100,000-160,000 children die from measles each year in India. Measles is among the world’s most contagious viral diseases. If we fail to vaccinate even a small percentage of India’s population, the disease will likely spread like wildfire and even more of our nation’s children will die.
“The progress made in reducing measles mortality is remarkable. In less than a decade, the world has reduced measles deaths by 74%, saving an estimated 3.6 million lives. Vaccination campaigns are led by the Ministry of Health, with financial and technical support from the Measles Initiative, and by parents who bring their children to be vaccinated. The accomplishments of this coordinated effort are truly inspiring.
“We are now at a critical point in the fight against measles. Countries continue to make progress in reducing mortality, but the progress is beginning to slow. The decline in measles deaths led to a decrease in attention from national governments, resulting in a loss of donor support and invaluable momentum. We must act quickly to reverse this trend, as we have yet to achieve the United Nations goal of reducing measles deaths globally by 90% by 2010.
We have seen the tremendous, life-saving impact of measles campaigns throughout the world. We must join the Measles Initiative to support India to adopt these strategies and undertake high quality campaigns to keep our children alive and healthy.”
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