Who We Are: Global Partners in Reducing Measles, Rubella and CRS
The Measles and Rubella Initiative
The Measles and Rubella Initiative is global partnership committed to ensuring that no child dies from measles or rubella or is born with congenital rubella syndrome (CRS), which can be fatal also. Founded originally as the Measles Initiative in 2001, it is led by the American Red Cross, the United Nations Foundation, the United Nations Children’s Fund, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Health Organization.
Since 2001 the initiative has supported the delivery of more than 1 billion doses of measles vaccine and helped raise measles vaccination coverage to 85% globally. As a result, worldwide measles deaths have been reduced by 74%. These efforts have contributed significantly to a reduction in overall child mortality, per Millennium Development Goal 4.
The initiative-supported measles immunization campaigns increasingly include other lifesaving health interventions such as the provision of Vitamin A supplements, deworming medicine, and insecticide-treated bed nets for malaria prevention. Through technical and financial support, the Measles and Rubella Initiative has helped 80 countries improve their routine immunization coverage, conduct successful measles and combination measles-rubella campaigns, and strengthen surveillance and laboratory networks. The initiative aims to further reduce measles deaths by 95%, achieve the rubella and CRS elimination goals by 2015, and eliminate measles and rubella in at least five of six World Health Organization (WHO) regions by 2020.
For more information, visit the Measles and Rubella Initiative website.
The Measles and Rubella Initiative Partners
The American Red Cross helps vulnerable people around the world prepare for and recover from disasters and complex humanitarian emergencies and prevent or respond to life-threatening health conditions. The American Red Cross coordinates the Measles and Rubella Initiative and provides substantial funding and communications support. It also provides technical and financial assistance to national Red Cross societies for mobilizing mothers and caretakers to get their children vaccinated during campaigns. More than 80,000 Red Cross national society volunteers help with measles immunization campaigns each year. In addition, the American Red Cross supports community education programs and operations research related to providing insecticide-treated bed nets during measles campaigns. Between 2001 and 2006, the American Red Cross contributed US $118 million to the initiative.
The United Nations (UN) Foundation is a public charity created in 1998 with entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner’s historic US $1 billion gift to support UN causes and activities. The UN Foundation builds and implements public–private partnerships to address the world’s most pressing problems; it also works to broaden support for the UN through advocacy and public outreach. As of December 2006, the foundation and its partners, including the American Red Cross and CDC, had raised US $308 million for the Measles and Rubella Initiative. The UN Foundation accounts for and disburses these funds through the UN financial system. The UN Foundation also contributes communications and fundraising resources in support of the Measles and Rubella Initiative.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is the premier global institution for child health and has been actively supporting childhood vaccination for many years. It is also a world leader in leveraging its uniquely large, on-the-ground global network of communications and social mobilization staff and allies in support of health strategies. With headquarters in New York City and country offices around the world, UNICEF facilitates the efficient movement of funds and provides strict accountability. The organization uses its sophisticated logistical and procurement capacity to obtain syringes, vaccines, and other commodities and deliver them to vaccination sites. UNICEF is highly regarded around the world and is the only organization allowed to import the vaccines into most developing countries.
CDC is at the forefront of public health efforts to prevent and control infectious and chronic diseases, injuries, workplace hazards, disabilities, and environmental health threats. Today, CDC is recognized globally for its action-oriented approach to conducting research and investigations. CDC provides technical and financial assistance for epidemiological and laboratory surveillance, including outbreak investigations, and assists in planning, implementing, and evaluating immunization programs, including operations research. In addition, CDC provides funding for bundled measles and measles-rubella vaccine and implementation of safe immunization practices.
The World Health Organization (WHO) is the United Nations agency responsible for assisting its Member States in addressing public health issues. In the immunization field, WHO sets global policy, supports research and development, establishes norms and standards, ensures use of quality vaccines, develops strategies, strengthens immunization systems, conducts disease surveillance, and monitors immunization programs. In terms of global measles and rubella control, WHO provides the overall technical leadership and strategic planning for management, coordination, and monitoring. WHO is also responsible for ensuring that all components of the measles mortality reduction, rubella control, and CRS prevention strategies are technically sound and successfully implemented.
Other Key Partners
Partners of the Measles and Rubella Initiative include the American Academy of Pediatrics; Ann Ray Charitable Trust ; Becton, Dickinson and Company; Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; Canadian International Development Agency; Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; GAVI Alliance, Herman and Katherine Peters Foundation; International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies; International Pediatrics Association; Izumi Foundation; Japan International Cooperation Agency; Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Kessler Family Foundation; Lions Clubs International Foundation; March of Dimes; Merck; The Monte dei Paschi Foundation; Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs; The ONE Campaign; Sabin Vaccine Institute ; Serum Institute of India; Task Force for Global Health; The United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID); Vodafone Foundation; and countries and governments affected by measles.
Partner Highlight: GAVI Alliance
In November 2011, the GAVI Alliance committed $554 million for introduction of rubella vaccine, primarily through large scale, nation-wide campaigns with measles-rubella vaccine targeting children under 15 years of age. In June 2012, the GAVI Alliance committed an additional $107 million for supplementary immunization activities against measles in six high-risk countries: Afghanistan, Chad, DR Congo, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Pakistan. Another $55 million will be offered through the Measles & Rubella Initiative for rapid response vaccination campaigns in GAVI-eligible countries where outbreaks occur.
For more information, visit the Measles and Rubella Initiative website