Thursday August 16, 2018

Experts Say Measles Victims Dropped Below 100,000 in 2016

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Measles Victims Dropped
Foriza Begum, background, a newly arrived Rohingya Muslim from Myanmar, reacts to her daughter Nosmin Fatima's scream as she receives a vaccination to prevent measles and rubella at a makeshift medical center in Teknaf, Bangladesh. VOA
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  • Latest reports of WHO, UNICEF, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say the rate of deaths from measles has dropped.
  • As per experts, a number of people who died from measles in 2016 were about 90,000, compared to 550,000 in 2000.

The World Health Organization, UNICEF, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say the rate of deaths from measles has dropped 84 percent since the beginning of a global vaccination campaign in 2000.

Experts say the number of people who died from the disease in 2016 was about 90,000, compared to more than 550,000 deaths in 2000. This marks the first time that worldwide measles deaths have fallen to less than 100,000 per year.

Robert Linkins, of the Measles and Rubella Initiative at the CDC, said in a statement that “saving an average of 1.3 million lives per year through vaccine is an incredible achievement and makes a world free of measles seem possible, even probable, in our lifetime.”

Since 2000, some 5.5 billion doses of measles vaccine have been administered to children through routine immunization services and mass vaccination campaigns. The disease is contagious through air particles and can spread quickly. The disease kills more people every year than any other vaccine-preventable disease.

But the WHO says the world is still far from reaching regional measles elimination goals. Since 2009, officials have managed to deliver a first dose of the vaccine to 85 percent of the babies who need it, but there has been no improvement in that rate in eight years. And only 64 percent of the affected population has gotten the second dose, which comes when a child is four or five years old.

The WHO says “far too many children” — about 20.8 million — have not had their first vaccine dose. Most of those children live in Nigeria, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The disease puts children at risk of developing complications such as pneumonia, diarrhea, encephalitis, and blindness.(VOA)

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Every Three Minutes a Teenage Girl is Infected by HIV – UNICEF

The solution, according to Angelique Kidjo, a UNICEF goodwill ambassador who contributed to the report, is education and economic empowerment

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School girls light candles in the shape of a ribbon during a HIV/AIDS awareness campaign ahead of World Aids Day, in Ahmedabad, India, Nov. 30, 2016.
School girls light candles in the shape of a ribbon during a HIV/AIDS awareness campaign ahead of World Aids Day, in Ahmedabad, India, Nov. 30, 2016. (VOA)

One girl between the ages of 15 and 19 is infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, every three minutes of every day, a United Nations report found.

The report, released Wednesday at the International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam, said teenage girls are bearing the brunt of the AIDS epidemic, largely due to gender inequality.

Henrietta Fore, head of the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF), called it a “crisis of health.”

“In most countries, women and girls lack access to information, to services, or even just power to say no to unsafe sex,” she said. “HIV thrives among the most vulnerable and marginalized, leaving teenage girls at the center of the crisis.”

The report said while there was significant progress in the battle against AIDS in other age groups, it is notably lacking among adolescents.

While AIDS-related deaths among all other age groups have been falling since 2010, those among children aged 15 to 19 have seen no reduction.

HIV Aids
The report said while there was significant progress in the battle against AIDS in other age groups, it is notably lacking among adolescents. Flickr

In 2017, 1.2 million 15- to 19-year-olds were living with HIV, three in five of them were girls, according to UNICEF.

Actress and activist Charlize Theron addressed the issue in her speech at the conference.

The AIDS epidemic is “not just about sex or sexuality,” she said. It is also about “the second-class status of women and girls worldwide.”

Also Read: HIV Drug Is Not Linked to Depression: Study

The solution, according to Angelique Kidjo, a UNICEF goodwill ambassador who contributed to the report, is education and economic empowerment.

“We need to make girls and women secure enough economically that they don’t have to turn to sex work,” she said. “We need to make sure they have the right information about how HIV is transmitted and how to protect themselves.” (VOA)