Measles (a.k.a. morbilli or rubella) is a viral infection that can lead to severe diarrhea, encephalitis, pneumonia, and other lethal side effects. In the year 2014, there were close to 114,900 deaths caused by measles globally, which translates to an average of 314 deaths every day. Nonetheless, modern medicine has made great strides in the fight against measles in recent decades. In fact, there was a 79% decrement in measles-related deaths between the years 2000 and 2014 globally. Many countries have taken important steps in ensuring that all children are immunized against this disease. Measles outbreaks spread very fast because the disease is caused by a virus that is highly contagious, making the need for immunization all the more pressing.
Higher Immunization Standards For A New Millennium
The World Health Organization unveiled an ambitious program in the year 2010 to aid in the process of eradicating the disease. Some of the milestones established included increased immunization routines for children below one year of age in every part of the world, reduction and maintenance of annual incidences of measles, and reduction of infant mortality by almost 95% from estimates of such totals from the year 2000. Some countries are much further advanced in the journey towards the complete elimination of measles, and have achieved great success in immunizing children between 12 and 23 months. There are measures that have been put in place to drive this agenda, and the results are evidenced by the very few cases of measles outbreaks reported in such countries.
Global Success Stories in Measles Immunization
Many developed countries with robust healthcare systems have achieved a near 100% rate of immunization against measles in children. China and other countries that have assumed the responsibility of providing free healthcare to children have closed in on such nearly absolute success rates. Most European countries fall in this category as well, owing to efficient healthcare systems and a high availability of funds to provide those better healthcare services. Political goodwill has also played a key role in ensuring that routine vaccination exercises are carried out in some lower income countries as well such as has been seen in medical aid to Nicaragua and Belarus. Other low income economies, like Tanzania, have borne the worst of the brunt of measles epidemics in recent decades, and are working diligently to prevent future outbreaks. These countries have put in place measures to reduce the number of measles infections through a combination of routine vaccinations, sanitation, and public health education. To this end, they have considerably reduced measles-related deaths among infants.
The rates of measles outbreaks have been consistently reduced globally for a good period of time now. The number of deaths from the virus have also been reduced as well, as countries find more ways to reduce new infections and maintain lower numbers of existing cases. Even without enough funds, some countries have managed to stay on top of the issue, and have ensured that nearly all children aged between 12 and 23 months are immunized against this deadly disease. As the number of infections fall, lack of attentive awareness and subsequent complacency may begin to creep in, which may potentially reverse some of the achievements attained over the years. Maintaining progress and ensuring immunization of infants is the only way to win this fight.
Winning the War Against Measles
Some countries have done very well in the fight against measles, even amidst very limited resources. It all depends on what the government considers the most deserving of its attention, and how diligently the medical practitioners within countries are willing to work. Because the World Health Organization plays a very important role in assisting governments in their quests to eradicate measles, coordinating with WHO is an integral component for many countries’ respective efforts. In the end, immunizing all of the world’s young children is a vision that is realizable, but only with the concerted effort of all parties involved.
Countries With The Highest Measles Vaccination Rates
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|Rank||Country||Measles Immunization Rate (%)|
|5||Czech Republic||99 %|
|17||South Korea||99 %|
|18||Saint Lucia||99 %|
|19||Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||99 %|
|21||Sri Lanka||99 %|