Though there exists a safe, proven, and inexpensive vaccine for measles, it is a disease that is spreading in much of the world. UNICEF and the WHO recently issued a joint call for action on this front, estimating that at least US$255 million is needed to address immunity gaps in what are called non-Gavi eligible countries.
“Gavi” stands for the “Global Alliance for Vaccines and Inoculations.” Countries become eligible for what is known as “Gavi support” if their gross domestic product falls below US$1,580 per person for each of thee consecutive years, according to World Bank data.
Measles among the unvaccinated can be a menace and a killer wherever it occurs of course. But the fact that the UNICEF/WHO are calling for assistance aimed at countries that are not eligible for Gavi illustrates that this menace has moved beyond the “usual suspects.”
In Pill Form:
World measles cases doubled from 2017 to 2018. Then they more than tripled from 2018 to 2019. The pandemic has since diverted and stretched healthcare resources everywhere, undermining vaccination programs for non-headline diseases.
The numbers on deaths from measles are similarly worrisome. Worldwide, there were more than 140 thousand such deaths in 2018, more than 207 thousand in 2019. These numbers may be compared to the all-time low of 90,000 in 2016.