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$1 Can Keep Measles Away

December 4, 2008

Last year, while in Mali, West Africa, the UN Foundation team was amazed to see first-hand the number of mothers who traveled miles to bring their small children to health clinics to be vaccinated against measles.  Many kids arrived on their mothers’ backs and grasped their immunization cards tightly in their small fingers, just like the baby in this picture.  Despite the hot sun and long lines, mothers and children remained smiling as they waited for the life-saving vaccines.  Some cried at the small needle prick, but all were brave. 

In many parts of the world, mothers still fear that they may lose their children to measles.  An estimated 540 children die each day from the disease, which can be prevented with a vaccine that costs just $1.  In 2007, 94 million children in more than 20 countries received measles vaccinations through large-scale measles campaigns led by country governments with support from the Measles Initiative, a partnership led by the UN Foundation, American Red Cross, UNICEF, the World Health Organization, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We help the Initiative to provide technical and financial support to governments and communities for vaccination campaigns and disease surveillance worldwide.  

Our work on the ground shows in the numbers, too. On December 4, 2008, the Measles Initiative partners released numbers showing that our efforts have helped to reduce measles deaths by 74% worldwide and by 89% in Africa (compared to rates in 2000). From 2000-2007, an estimated 3.6 million deaths were averted as a result of measles campaigns.  The UN Foundation is proud to support this life-saving initiative to help mothers everywhere protect their children from deadly and easily preventable diseases.  We're now focused on reaching the United Nations' goal of reducing global measles deaths by 90 percent worldwide by 2010.  With support from governments, corporations, and individuals, we can help the United Nations reach this goal and ensure that parents around the world will no longer have to fear that their child will die from a measles infection.