First 5 Years of Measles Elimination in Southern Africa: 1996-2000
Biellik, Robin; Madema, Simon; Taole, Anne
Every year, approximately 30 million people around the world contract measles and 900,000 people die from the disease. About 50 percent of those deaths take place in Africa. Measles is currently the primary cause of death among children in Africa, even though it is easily preventable using a vaccine. In 1996, seven southern African countries implemented strategies to eradicate measles. As a result, reported clinical cases of the disease fell from 60,000 at the start of the campaign to just 110 laboratory-confirmed cases of measles in 2000. Similarly, reported cases of people dying from measles fell from 166 in 1996 to zero two years ago. A number of lessons were learned from this campaign, in particular the fact that a decrease in measles morbidity and mortality can be achieved in even the poorest countries if nations split their vaccination campaigns by age-group or geographical location of the target population.