Eight million children residing in Southeast Asian countries have not been vaccinated against measles and, therefore, are at risk of contracting this infectious disease, which ended the lives of more than 70,000 children in 11 countries in the region during the year 2011.
This has been noted by Samlee Plianbangchang, director of the World Health Organization (WHO) for South-East Asia, who has also explained that outbreaks of measles are an obstacle to the development of these countries, while administering the vaccine to the population is a 'cost-effective' way to eliminate both this disease and rubella.
The governments of these countries committed to eliminate measles and control rubella and congenital syndrome by 2020, and to achieve this goal will be necessary to reach and maintain 95% of the population's immunity against these diseases. In addition, to develop a surveillance system for possible cases that arise.
Administering the vaccine to the population is a 'cost-effective' way to eliminate both measles and rubella
According to WHO data, in these countries, between 2000 and 2011, the incidence rate of measles has been reduced by 63%, from 69.9 to 25 per million inhabitants. In this period of time, deaths caused by measles in Southeast Asia have also been reduced by 48%.
However, experts fear that currently the progress of population immunization is not as fast as it should be, and the goal set for 2020 is not achieved. Therefore, WHO calls on these governments to complete the financial 'gaps' and technicians pending so that measles can be eradicated from the region on that date.