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International Efforts > Global Measles Goal
Global Goal to Cut Measles Deaths Surpassed

Related page: Measles Initiative

Early in this century, the United Nations set an ambitious public health goal: to cut global measles deaths in half by 2005 compared with 1999 levels. That baseline year, measles killed an estimated 873,000 people, the vast majority young children in developing countries. Measles mortality data for 2005, published in “The Lancet” on January 19, reveals that measles deaths fell to 345,000, a drop of 60%. Thus the global goal was not just achieved, but surpassed.

During the period from 1999-2005, large-scale measles vaccination campaigns and improvements in routine immunization services prevented an estimated 2.3 million measles deaths. The success in meeting this goal has led to a new goal: to cut global measles deaths by 90% by 2010 compared with levels in 2000.

Much of the success for the reduction in measles deaths is due to the support of the Measles Initiative and the commitment of governments of countries with large measles burdens, particularly in Africa. CDC is a founding member of the Measles Initiative – along with the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the American Red Cross, and the United Nations Foundation. During its first five years (2001-2005), the Initiative was the main international supporter of large-scale measles immunization campaigns in more than 40 countries in Africa and Asia, leading to the vaccination of more than 360 million children.

Through the Initiative, CDC provides technical assistance to host governments to help plan, implement, and evaluate immunization programs, including operations research, and provides funds to purchase bundled measles vaccine for mass vaccination campaigns.

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This page last modified on January 16, 2007
Content on this page last reviewed on January 16, 2007


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