Sunday February 24, 2019

1.5 million deaths occur each year from preventable diseases: WHO

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Preventable Disease

By NewsGram Staff Writer

With 1 in 5 children still missing out on routine life-saving immunizations, 1.5 million deaths occur each year from preventable diseases, a WHO release said ahead of the World Immunization Week.

In the lead-up to World Immunization Week 2015 (24–30 April), WHO is calling for renewed efforts to get progress towards global vaccination back on course.

In 2013, nearly 22 million infants missed out on the required three doses of diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis-containing vaccines (DTP3), many of them living in the world’s poorest countries, WHO said.

“World Immunization Week creates a focused global platform to reinvigorate our collective efforts to ensure vaccination for every child, whoever they are and wherever they live,” said Dr Flavia Bustreo, WHO Assistant Director-General, Family, Women’s and Children’s Health.

In 2012, all 194 WHO Member States at the World Health Assembly endorsed the Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP), a commitment to ensure that no one misses out on vital immunization. However, a recent independent assessment report on GVAP progress rings an alarm bell, warning that vaccines are not being delivered equitably or reliably and that only 1 of the 6 key vaccination targets for 2015 is currently on track – the introduction of under-utilized vaccines.

Six targets of Global Vaccine Action Plan for 2015 are as following:

Immunization against diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough (DTP3)
Target: 90% immunization coverage against diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough by 2015.
Gap: 65 countries

Introduction of under-utilized vaccines
Target: At least 90 low or middle income countries to have introduced one or more under-utilized vaccines by 2015.
ON TRACK

Polio eradication 
Target: No new cases after 2014
Gap: 3 countries remain polio endemic

Maternal and neonatal tetanus: Global elimination by end-2015
Target: Eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus
Gap: 24 countries

Measles elimination
Target: Eliminate from three WHO regions by end-2015
Gap: 16% of all children are not being immunized against measles

Rubella elimination
Target: Eliminate rubella from two WHO regions by end-2015
Gap: Half of all children do not receive the rubella vaccine

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Pregnant Women To Be Vaccinated Against The Deadly Ebola Virus

Ring vaccination is a strategy that prevents the spread of the disease by vaccinating only those likely to be infected with the virus.

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Ebola
Ring vaccination is a strategy that prevents the spread of the disease by vaccinating only those likely to be infected with the virus. VOA

An independent advisory body convened by the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends pregnant women and breastfeeding women in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo be vaccinated against the deadly Ebola virus. Latest WHO figures put the number of Ebola cases in the DRC at 853, including 521 deaths since the beginning of the outbreak in August.

More than 80,000 people so far have been vaccinated against Ebola in the African country’s conflict-ridden North Kivu and Ituri provinces during the current outbreak. The vaccine is still in its experimental stage. But since 2015 it has been given to thousands of people in Africa, Europe and the United States.

The studies of the efficacy of the vaccine are not conclusive. However, they indicate the serum is safe and protects people against Ebola. On the basis of accumulated evidence, the group of immunization experts recommends continued ring vaccination for Ebola in DRC.

baby
The WHO says all vaccinated pregnant women will be closely monitored until the birth of their babies to see if there are any adverse effects. Pixabay

Ring vaccination is a strategy that prevents the spread of the disease by vaccinating only those likely to be infected with the virus. WHO spokesman, Tarek Jasarevic says the experts advise pregnant women at high risk of infection and death from Ebola should be given the vaccination.

“So, this aim, this vaccinating of women would protect them, provide them with more protection. But we also know that if we use this ring vaccination that women who are in the community that is vaccinated then have a low risk. So, it is really between risk and benefits and we hope that the use of the vaccine in pregnant women will generate some data for the future,” Jasarevic said.

ring vaccine
On the basis of accumulated evidence, the group of immunization experts recommends continued ring vaccination for Ebola in DRC. Pixabay

The group of experts advise the vaccine be given to pregnant women in their second or third trimester as well as to breastfeeding women and babies under one year old.

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The experts also recommend that one or more of three other new experimental Ebola vaccines be tested in areas neighboring the affected regions. They say pregnant and breastfeeding women should be included in these trials.

The WHO says all vaccinated pregnant women will be closely monitored until the birth of their babies to see if there are any adverse effects. (VOA)