UNICEF has rung alarm bells cautioning people about measles outbreaks, and the need for vaccinations
Measles in children are being reported in an alarming number of cases. The number of children affected by the disease have gone up considerably over the course of just one year. Ten countries from across the globe, account for over 75% of the reported cases. According to a survey conducted by UNICEF, more than 90 countries reported a rise in children affected by measles. The United Nation’s agency believes this outbreak could have far worse ramifications, if left unchecked.
UNICEF has identified multiple possible causes for the sharp increase in the number of patients. The most worrying of which, is the lack of vaccination awareness, even in developed countries. Despite the advancements medical science has made, there is a huge section of the adult world population that doesn’t believe vaccines are necessary for children. The survey reported that the people of France had the lowest amount of confidence in vaccines, and a worrying number of them abstained from getting their children vaccinated. The US also reported 791 cases of measles in children in 2018, almost six times more than the cases they observed in 2017. A lot of these cases are again, related to the lack of trust in vaccinations, stemming from a lack of awareness, despite the economic prowess of the country.
Other countries plagued by political or financial crises also showed a similar increase in the number of children ailing from measles. Countries like Yemen and Venezuela are combating this issue, although because of different reasons, and not owing to lack of awareness about vaccinations, but rather the lack of enough medical infrastructure, and political turmoil.
“This is a wake-up call, we have a safe, effective and inexpensive vaccine against a highly contagious disease – a vaccine that has saved almost a million lives every year over the past two decades,” said Henrietta H Fore, UNICEF’s executive director, as she expressed her concerns about the escalating situation.