Excellent news hot off the World Health Organization presses: Measles deaths have reached historic lows, dropping more than 78% from more than 562 000 deaths in 2000 to 122,000 in 2012.
The WHO attributes this sharp decline to the increased availability of vaccines, saying that 13.8 million deaths have been prevented in this time period. More than 1 billion kids in the developing world have received Measles and Rubella vaccine since 2000. This is thanks in large part to partnerships like the Measles and Rubella Initiative, which includes the American Red Cross, CDC, UN Foundation, UNICEF and World Health Organization.
It is helpful to put this in perspective: a disease that used to kill half a million children every year now only kills a fraction of that number–and is on the path toward elimination. This progress ought to be sung from the mountaintops. Still, Measles is not leaving fast enough: 122,000 deaths from a disease that can be prevented with a vaccine that costs less than $1 per dose is our continued moral failing. We can do better. And we must.
For now, though, we should applaud the progress we’re making.