Fighting Measles With The Measles Initiative

Measles Initiative- Bangladesh

This young girl is one of 33.5 million children across Bangladesh being vaccinated against measles, a disease that claims the life of more than 20,000 children in Bangladesh each year.
This young girl is one of 33.5 million children across Bangladesh being vaccinated against measles, a disease that claims the life of more than 20,000 children in Bangladesh each year.

Measles have been a worldwide problem for years.

"Don't count your children until the measles has passed", was a common saying among the Nigerian village Imesi-Ile, in Africa, according to Dr. Samuel Katz, Wilburt Cormel Davison Professor and Chairman Emeritus of Pediatrics at Duke University. Dr. Katz first introduced the measles vaccine to the African people during the 1960's, pioneering this humanitarian effort long before the Measles Initiative was even an idea.

Before this awesome task of providing vaccinations for all people of the world was undertaken, the World Health Organization estimated that between 6 million to 8 million children died annually from measles. Measles was the cause of death for more children than AIDS, tuberculosis, or even malnutrition.

Fighting Measles in Uganda

The Measles Initiative lowering mortality rates worldwide.
The Measles Initiative lowering mortality rates worldwide.

The American Red Cross organized healthcare organizations to develop the Measles Initiative.

It wasn't until February of 2001, when the American Red Cross set up a meeting with several other global healthcare organizations that the idea of global immunizations became a reality. When discussing the growing problem of measles in the country of Africa, they looked worldwide and discovered that measles was certainly a major issue of concern. The tragedy about the problem at hand was that the deaths that occurred due to the disease could have been prevented by a simple vaccination.

The Measles vaccination is the most cost-effective public health intervention available for preventing deaths. The cost of each vaccination is approximately only a dollar per person. In Africa alone, one in every one hundred children dies as a result of measles.

Measles Initiative- Helping children in Niger

Photo credit: International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
Photo credit: International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

Global partnership created the Measles Initiative.

The American Red Cross, UN Foundation, CDC, World Health Organization, and UNICEF are the main contributors to this cause.

The Measles Initiative is the result of this partnership of these healthcare powerhouses. Working together to provide health opportunities world wide, these organizations pooled their resources to form a more concentrated group in this endeavor.

UNICEF- Partners in fighting Measles

Vaccinating Children in Indonesia

This infant is one of nearly 30 million Indonesian children receiving a measles vaccination.
This infant is one of nearly 30 million Indonesian children receiving a measles vaccination.

Why are Measles such a problem?

Measles is the most highly transmissible of any of the known viruses. It is spread through respiration, which means, any contact with fluids from an infected person's nose or mouth, or through direct aerosol transmission can spread the disease.

The incubation period is usually 4-12 days, in which no symptoms are visible. Once the symptoms appear the infected individual remains contagious until 3-5 days after the rash appears.

Although the symptoms are commonly a fever, runny nose, red eyes, and a rash, complications such as diarrhea, pneumonia, blindness, mental retardation and other serious complications, as well as death, can occur.

If a non-immune community were to contract the measles, the medical care facilities would most likely be quickly overwhelmed.

Measles Initiative- Vaccinations are preventative measures.

Measles Initiative- Mozambique

This Mozambique boy manages his measles 'jab' the best he can...
This Mozambique boy manages his measles 'jab' the best he can...

The Measles Initiative will lower the mortality rate considerably by 2010.

The goal of the Measles Vaccination Initiative is to bring the mortality rate to fewer than 100,000 by the year 2010, as opposed to the rate of 900,000 back in 1999.

Dr. Peter Strebel of the World Health Organization believes that the Initiative is successful because different organizations throughout the world have worked with governments to accelerate the control of measles through various campaigns targeting children who have never been vaccinated.

Money and Volunteers are necessary for success.

A Kenya Red Cross volunteer from the Kajiado branch, walks door to door registering children who need measles vaccinations and encouraging mothers to bring their children to the closest vaccination post.
A Kenya Red Cross volunteer from the Kajiado branch, walks door to door registering children who need measles vaccinations and encouraging mothers to bring their children to the closest vaccination post.

Combined efforts to prevent Measles- Indonesia

As part of Indonesia’s integrated campaign, insecticide-treated nets were distributed to help prevent malaria.
As part of Indonesia’s integrated campaign, insecticide-treated nets were distributed to help prevent malaria.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is a wonderful partner in this effort.

Besides the well known organizations who work to provide the needed resources to move the initiative forward, many unnamed groups donate time and money to support the larger groups in their efforts.

Included in these smaller groups are the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the Mormons. According to the Church Welfare Services, more than 54,784 Latter Day Saint volunteers have contributed to this campaign, helping to vaccinate in total, 189,261,345 children in over 28 countries.

Dr. Strebel commented on the help from the church, calling them a "fantastic partner" in the Measles Initiative since 2003.

They have not only donated a large amount of funds, which have been used primarily for the purchase of the vaccines, but have helped with volunteers in distributing the needed immunization.

He stated, "More important than the funding, is the role the Church has played in social mobilization. Mormon volunteers contributed to getting 90 to 95 percent of the children in some areas immunized against measles."

Healthcare is being provided for other areas of concern at the same time.

Polio vaccine was also given out during the integrated health campaign. De-worming medicine, vitamin A and avian influenza information was also distributed.
Polio vaccine was also given out during the integrated health campaign. De-worming medicine, vitamin A and avian influenza information was also distributed.

Measles campaigns provide an opportunity to spread love.

In some areas the Church's logo has been added to all the campaign materials because organizers recognized the important service of the local members of the church. Church members actually went house to house, and village hall to village hall, to encourage people to bring their children to be vaccinated.

In 2008, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints will be helping with campaigns in Togo, Papua New Guinea, Ivory Coast, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Egypt, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala and Benin. Many members who have participated have called it "an opportunity for a personal expression of love through service."

Volunteers bring hope through education about measles.

Tanzania Red Cross volunteers go house to house educating parents about the important of bringing their children to be vaccinated.
Tanzania Red Cross volunteers go house to house educating parents about the important of bringing their children to be vaccinated.

Results and rewards are seen by the efforts of so many wonderful individuals.


The American Red Cross states, "In all our work, we abide by the seven fundamental principles: humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity, and universality."

Greater humanitarian efforts are yet to be seen on such a wide scale. All who are involved in this effort will truly see the rewards of their participation as they apply principles of service and brotherly kindness in their lives.

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Comments 27 comments

solarshingles profile image

solarshingles 8 years ago from london

Thank you very much for this wonderful hub! Nothing more to say about this ULTRA important topic.


Chef Jeff profile image

Chef Jeff 8 years ago from Universe, Milky Way, Outer Arm, Sol, Earth, Western Hemisphere, North America, Illinois, Chicago.

Many people just blow off measles as a kid's disease that we all get and then get over, but the truth is that measles can kill, it can ruin a life, and it is dangerous. Thanks for the good news story - just goes to show that there IS good news out after all!


In The Doghouse profile image

In The Doghouse 8 years ago from California Author

solarshingles,

This is an important topic to say the least, that is one of the reasons I decided to write it. Thanks for your visit and comments.


In The Doghouse profile image

In The Doghouse 8 years ago from California Author

Chef Jeff,

Yes, I agree, there is good news out there if we look. Thank you for all of your kind comments on my Hubs, you are truly a friend. This Hub has lead me to discover that some people are opposed to vaccinating their children... might be a topic for another Hub! Very controversial, I guess. Thanks again for your support.


Chef Jeff profile image

Chef Jeff 8 years ago from Universe, Milky Way, Outer Arm, Sol, Earth, Western Hemisphere, North America, Illinois, Chicago.

Some are against it for religious reasons, others because they believe drugs are tested on animals, which may occur, I really don't know. In other nations at times they are leery of attempts to vaccinate because they believe the drugs are really harmful, or are being given with bad intentions.

Just the same, it is good to see people working to make the world a better place. With education, the people who resist may learn that the reasons for their resistance are not sound. And, as I said before, great hub!


Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick

measles should not be taken lightly, you hub is an important contribution to the efforts to keep people aware of what is happening and what is being done. Good work.


In The Doghouse profile image

In The Doghouse 8 years ago from California Author

Chef Jeff,

All of the reasons you have stated are true, but besides those there are many who have given vaccinations in general a bad rap claiming they cause secondary damage etc. All in all, however, what a mess we would be in without them. Both my mother and her sister have suffered all their lives from the effects of polio, which they had as young girls. But... as I said, this is extremely controversial for some. Thanks again for your insights.


In The Doghouse profile image

In The Doghouse 8 years ago from California Author

Bob,

I totally agree, measles are something that should not be taken lightly. I certainly would hate to have them return because of a stand against vaccination. When I saw the newspaper article that they had a case in San Diego, I was shocked. I can't even imagine living in a country where they were still raging in epidemic proportions. I just think that this is a very good cause and should be discussed. Thank you for visiting and commenting.


MrMarmalade profile image

MrMarmalade 8 years ago from Sydney

Five son in which there were twins. Strangely one of the twins got measles and the other one did not. We often wonder why only one of the twins got it and why the other boys did not. We lived together and played together.

Another wonder on my part is why are Mums and Dads not conscious of this horror disease?


In The Doghouse profile image

In The Doghouse 8 years ago from California Author

Mr. M,

I have to agree with you, "how can moms and dads not be conscious of this horror disease?" This is a dreaded disease that can be prevented by simple immunization. It is amazing that one son got it, and the other didn't, for it is such a contagious thing...lucky huh? Thanks for reading and supporting this cause.


In The Doghouse profile image

In The Doghouse 8 years ago from California Author

Decrescendo,

I think that this is an important issue also. You are welcome.


donnaleemason profile image

donnaleemason 8 years ago from North Dakota, USA

That was a wonderful hub!


In The Doghouse profile image

In The Doghouse 8 years ago from California Author

Thank you Donna!


ripplemaker profile image

ripplemaker 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

Great info Diana. I remember I was still a little girl when I got measles. I had to drink some yucky thing (if I remember correctly--orange juice with egg) BUt it is so wonderful to read how people are getting together to help many to be immunized. I salute all those with super caring hearts! :)


In The Doghouse profile image

In The Doghouse 8 years ago from California Author

Michelle,

Yikes! I am glad that your survived the measles unscathed. I too salute all those with caring hearts that are trying to make the world a better place. Thanks for your comments.


amy jane profile image

amy jane 8 years ago from Connecticut

Wow, such an interesting hub. It is amazing what we take for granted here in the US. It is wonderful to see how the church is helping. I am very cautious about vaccines with my children, but I do think the measles vaccine is essential, even here in the states.


In The Doghouse profile image

In The Doghouse 8 years ago from California Author

Amy,

It is amazing what we take for granted. I have been watching the news lately and there have been several outbreaks of the measles even locally because of the fear of immunizations, and parents refusing to vaccinate their children. There are many pros and cons on the issue, it is just a matter of which information you can rely on. I think that the service that the Measles Initiative gives to the world outweighs the risk. Thanks for visiting.


robie2 profile image

robie2 8 years ago from Central New Jersey

There was no measles vaccine when I was a child. I had the disease--two weeks quarentined in a dark room. Yep, the quarentined you and while most kids had no ill effects, there were deaths and searious complications with life long effects from measles. Thank God we have a vaccine now--and think the Measles Initiative is a wonderful thing.


In The Doghouse profile image

In The Doghouse 8 years ago from California Author

robie2,

Thank you for your added insights on the dreadful Measles, which are a serious health risk to say the least. I am certainly glad you escaped unscathed. The Measles Initiative is a wonderful humanitarian effort and yes, I agree, it is important.


marisuewrites profile image

marisuewrites 8 years ago from USA

It's wonderful to talk about how the church is linked to good causes and worldwide health issues.

How they help others is of interest to others...now THIS is a great way to spread the gospel, to spread good. Letting people see good, causes some to want to know more. 

A nice, soft approach, that speaks to the heart of any reader.  One cause helping another cause...building connections with common ground.  And no shouting here,   I Love it!!  A warm, informative hub, Doghouse.  Well done.  

and Amen.


In The Doghouse profile image

In The Doghouse 8 years ago from California Author

Marisue,

I think that is it important to be tolerant of others while still upholding your standards. I love the way the Church is reaching out in humanitarian ways to help others around the world. To me that is a testimony in itself and should be shared. Too often the acts of service are gone unnoticed because the Church does not bring attention to the fact they are behind these kind acts. I just wanted to make others aware that our church does behave in a "Christian" manner working with others to make the world a better place.

Thanks for your support and kind words.


marisuewrites profile image

marisuewrites 8 years ago from USA

I do too, giving behind the scenes in a sense is an even stronger form of giving. Th Church shows up, over and over and the members give til it hurts. Of course, we're not alone in that...that's why teaming up is so wonderful...

thanks for this "not shouting about the Church" hub. I LIKE it!


Uninvited Writer profile image

Uninvited Writer 8 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

Excellent hub. We don't often think the measles still kills...


In The Doghouse profile image

In The Doghouse 8 years ago from California Author

Uninvited Writer,

Yes, Measles are still killing children everywhere. This is an important issue that everyone can get on board with!


wwhitlock 8 years ago

Yet another element in the cause of so much poverty. Yes, we should do all we can to rid the world of measles. '

Perhaps we can find a way to encourage governments of all nations to take this seriously. I don't want to diminish our need to help, but this is another example of corrupt officials allowing problems to go unsolved.


In The Doghouse profile image

In The Doghouse 8 years ago from California Author

wwhitlock,

Isn't it a shame that many people suffer at the hands of unrighteous leaders. Unfortunately that is part of this imperfect world we live in. This is a wonderful opportunity for us to participate in a really worthy cause as well.


Mormon Soprano 8 years ago

This is a really informative hub - I did not realize that measles was still such a terrible problem in the world. I have heard that measles is rearing it's ugly head in the USA due to parents refusing to vaccinate their children. I hope that many can read your post and make themselves aware of the importance of vaccination, and of helping to support the cause elsewhere.

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