Measles is one of the most infectious and savage diseases. It keeps its position as one of the leading causes of death in children worldwide, killing nearly 367 children per day and in 2017, there were 110 000 measles deaths globally – even with the reality that a safe and effective vaccine has been available for over 52 years. Measles cases have declined globally by 80 percent between 2000 and 2016. However, As of December 2018, the number of reported measles cases were up an estimated 94% over 2017, according to WHO. The regions with the most significant percentage increase in measles cases year-to-date were the Americas (4,300% increase), Europe (230% increase), and the Western Pacific Region (250% increase). Large measles outbreaks are ongoing in non-Gavi-eligible (NGE) countries Georgia, Kazakhstan, Philippines, Ukraine, and Thailand in addition to Gavi-eligible countries’ Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Kyrgyzstan, Madagascar, Myanmar, and Sudan. Even NGE countries like the United States of America, Israel, and Tunisia with overall high vaccination coverage are amid of massive measles outbreak.
In 2017 alone, it infected 7 million people, with 95% of the cases taking place in countries with weak health systems mostly the low-income countries. Measles spreads much more quickly than other headline-grabbing diseases. For 2019, estimates are of concern, reported cases in the first quarter of 2019 surpassed the cases reported in the same period of 2018. Recent ongoing outbreak around the globe is alarming due to the increasing number of countries involved.
Many of these outbreaks are in low-income countries where partners are working with national governments in response, including support from Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. However, some of these outbreaks are occurring in countries not eligible for Gavi support. These include Georgia, Kazakhstan, Philippines, Ukraine, Thailand, United States of America, Israel and Tunisia. While the reasons for the risk to fragile gains made in the past vary, the need for additional resources to support the national response to the outbreaks is much-needed know.