Monday, 5th of May 2008 Print

On 20 May, the World Health Assembly reviewed the Secretariat report (see URL address and excerpts, below, along with a report of comments made by the country delegations).
Once cleared with member states, a fuller account of the floor discussions will appear under the heading 'WHA 63' at
Good reading.

Measles eradication report from the WHO Secretariat to the WHA

Excerpts from the Secretariat report to the WHA:

26. Measles eradication is achievable. One WHO region has sustained measles elimination for the past seven years and four of the five remaining WHO regions have set an elimination goal to be achieved by 2020 or earlier.

27. A major obstacle in many countries is the inadequacy of routine immunization and surveillance systems. These must be strengthened if regional measles elimination is to be achieved and maintained. Periodic follow-up supplementary immunization activities will also be needed to sustain high levels of population immunity.

28. The Secretariat has commissioned analytical work on measures to strengthen immunization systems and on the economic aspects of measles eradication activities. The aim is to strengthen information resources and thereby enhance the advice which the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts

on immunization and the governing bodies of WHO can provide to countries.

29. Global measles targets for 2015 are proposed as milestones towards global eradication of measles. These include achievement of the Global Immunization Vision and Strategy’s goal to increase vaccination coverage as well as targets for reduction of incidence and mortality:

• exceed 90% coverage with the first dose of measles-containing vaccine nationally and exceed 80% vaccination coverage in every district or equivalent administrative unit;

• reduce annual measles incidence to less than five cases per million and maintain that level;

• reduce measles mortality by 95% or more in comparison with 2000 estimates.

30. Achievement of these targets would build on progress made towards the Global Immunization Vision and Strategy coverage goal, would be the basis for controlling other vaccine-preventable diseases and would lay the groundwork for a future measles eradication goal.

31. Among the 47 priority countries, an estimated US$ 801 million is needed to achieve the 2015 targets (including the costs of planned supplementary immunization activities and of improved routine immunization and surveillance systems), of which US$ 298 million is needed from external sources.

Further political and financial commitment is therefore required.

Discussion by WHA country delegations, as summarized on the WHO homepage:
Global eradication of measles


About 20 delegates took the floor during the discussion and endorsed targets set for 2015 as milestones towards the eventual global eradication of measles. Member States were encouraged by the progress made in controlling measles, but also highlighted the formidable challenges that need to be addressed to achieve the 2015 targets. These include:

  • competing public health priorities;
  • weak immunization systems;
  • sustaining high routine vaccination coverage;
  • addressing the US$ 298 million funding gap;
  • vaccinating the hard-to-reach population; and
  • addressing an increasing number of measles outbreaks particularly in cross-border areas.

Success in achieving the measles 2015 targets is essential if the MDG 4 - reduce child mortality - is to be reached.


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