EHS-COVID (21) UNICEF and WHO call for emergency action to avert major measles and polio epidemics

6 November, 2020

Dear HIFA and CHIFA (child health) colleagues,

Extract below. Read online: https://www.who.int/news/item/06-11-2020-unicef-and-who-call-for-emergen...

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As COVID-19 disrupts immunizations, urgent action needed to protect most vulnerable children from deadly and debilitating diseases

6 November 2020 News release Reading time: 3 min (715 words)

UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) today issued an urgent call to action to avert major measles and polio epidemics as COVID-19 continues to disrupt immunization services worldwide, leaving millions of vulnerable children at heightened risk of preventable childhood diseases.

The two organizations estimate that US$655 million (US$400 million for polio and US$255 million for measles) are needed to address dangerous immunity gaps in non-Gavi eligible countries and target age groups.

“COVID-19 has had a devastating effect on health services and in particular immunization services, worldwide,” commented Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “But unlike with COVID, we have the tools and knowledge to

stop diseases such as polio and measles. What we need are the resources and commitments to put these tools and knowledge into action. If we do that, children’s lives will be saved.”...

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Neil Pakenham-Walsh, HIFA Coordinator, neil@hifa.org www.hifa.org

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