This is an important week for global health. The World Health Organization’s executive board meets today to set the agenda for the annual World Health Assembly. Via the UN Foundation, one former UN secretary general is calling for the WHO’s board to set a target date for global Measles eradication. Here’s Kofi Annan:
“There is no better time than now to eliminate measles once and for all. As a result of the hard work of country governments, WHO, UNICEF, NGOs and others, we have made tremendous progress in reducing measles mortality by nearly 80% worldwide. But we can’t stop here; measles still infects 30 million children each year and kills 450 people every day.
“When the Executive Board of the WHO convenes in Geneva tomorrow, I encourage them to recognize the importance of and fully support setting a measles eradication date. This comes on the heels of key recommendations from two groups who have stated that measles eradication is possible – the first was WHO’s own Global Technical Consultation Group in July 2010 who proposed a target date of 2020 and the second was WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Immunization in November 2010. SAGE concluded that measles can and should be eradicated with a target date to be set by the World Health Assembly.
Check out the Measles Initiative for more on what needs to be done to eradicate the disease.