Measles Remains Greatest Killer of Children Globally, WHO Warns

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By Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that measles remains one of the greatest killers of children globally, adding that it is imperative for all nations to take decisive medical actions to tackle the disease.

The WHO Coordinator in Ekiti State, Dr Olufunmilola Kolude, who said that the scourge was killing children despite the availability of vaccine across the world, added that the situation prompted the introduction of the measles containing vaccine two (MVC2) to be administered to children between post natal ages of 15 and 23 months.

The WHO coordinator said this in Ado Ekiti on Thursday when the wife of the Ekiti State governor, Mrs Bisi Fayemi, flagged off measles containing Vaccine 2 into routine immunisation in the state capital.

The medical programme christened ‘Measles Containing Vaccine 2’, was introduced by WHO in partnership with the United Nations Children Endowment Fund (UNICEF) and African Field Epidemiology Network (AFENET).

The WHO expert said: “Measles is a highly contagious viral disease and an important cause of death among young children globally. Several cases have been reported recently across Nigeria, especially in Oyo, Lagos and Ogun this year, but Ekiti didn’t experience it because of the success of 2018 immunisation programme.

“Ekiti has not recorded any outbreak this year and this could be attributed to the success of measles vaccination of 2018. In 2019, out of 577 suspected cases, only 15 were positive and only three were below age five years. Also in 2018, out of 584 suspected cases, only five were positive and only one was below five years.

“The introduction of this second dose was occasioned by the fact that not all children received the first dose at after nine months. This will also reboost the first dose and increase the coverage by 95 per cent”.

Mrs Fayemi disclosed that about 17,000 cases measles victims are reported annually in Nigeria, with high incidence observed during the dry season.