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Wed, 02 Sep 2009 14:39 - Updated Thu, 03 Sep 2009 16:49

Measles may be eradicated from Africa until 2020


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Child with measles

Photo: Angop

Kigali – Measles can be eradicated from Africa until 2020, taking into account the 89 percent drop in the number of deaths caused by the disease between 2000 and 2007.

This was said Tuesday by the regional director of the World Health Organisation for Africa (WHO/AFRO), Luis Gomes Sambo.

Gomes Sambo was presenting the organisation’s report to the 59th session of the WHO taking place in Kigali, Rwanda.

To him, the progress scored within the goals for 2009, concerning the reduction of death caused by measles, is owed mainly to the engagement of the member states in the implementation of strategies, including improved routine and Supplementary Vaccination Operations (ASV).

During the 103 ASV carried out in the period in respect, a total of 369 million children were vaccinated. 70 of the said ADV reached a coverage of 95 percent or higher, it was said.

According to the source, as to the routine vaccination, 11 countries reached a coverage of 90 percent or higher in 2008, with Seychelles reaching 100 percent of the country.

Luis Gomes Sambo added that despite the impressive success recorded, several challenges are still to be addressed, in order to keep the gains scored in reducing death and paving the way towards the eradication of measles.

He mentioned permanent large scale measles outbreaks, high prevalence of the disease in some countries and inadequate routine vaccination services as the challenges.

In order to overcome these challenges, the official underlined the importance of reinforcing the quality of surveillance, routine vaccination monitoring data, engagement of the national leaderships and marshalling of resources.