United Nations Foundation seeks more funding to hit 2015 measles, rubella target

Measles deaths have decreased dramatically by 74 percent from 535, 300 in 2000 to just over 139,000 in 2010, but alongside that good news is the not so good news. The Measles and Rubella (MR) Initiative set a target to reduce deaths by 95 percent, but the plan to reach each child is short of cash.

“An additional US$ 112 million is needed to achieve the global measles and rubella goals for 2015. We need significant commitments from governments and the private sector if we are going to stop measles and rubella, as well as the support of individuals worldwide, because a small donation from the public can go a long way and help save many lives,” declared Kathy Calvin, Chief Executive Officer of the United Nations Foundation.

The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) pledged to continue its partnership with the MR Initiative who supports developing countries in controlling and eliminating the diseases. “We are delighted to strengthen our partnership with the MR Initiative, which has done great work to reduce measles and infections and reduce mortality,” said Dr. Seth Berkley, GAVI Chief Executive Officer. He announced, “With GAVI’s US$605 million investment for both the combined MR and second dose vaccines in developing countries, this is a historic moment for the reduction, and hopefully, eventual elimination of both diseases.”

Aside from monetary support from GAVI, the American Red Cross promised to leverage the capacity of its partners in the Red Cross, Red Crescent network, and their volunteer network to combat measles and rubella. “By working closely with these volunteers, trusted neighbors and community members, to literally go door-to-door, explaining the importance of receiving routine immunizations and participating in campaigns, we can continue to fight these deadly diseases,” said David Meltzer, Senior Vice President of the American Red Cross’ International Services.