An African plan to control COVID-19 is urgently needed :: Action needed now to prevent further increases in measles and measles deaths in the coming years

The Lancet
Dec 05, 2020 Volume 396 Number 10265 p1777-1860, e90
https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/issue/current

 

Editorial
An African plan to control COVID-19 is urgently needed
The Lancet

Comment
Action needed now to prevent further increases in measles and measles deaths in the coming years
Kim Mulholland, Katrina Kretsinger, Liya Wondwossen, Natasha Crowcroft
… The coming months are likely to see increasing numbers of unimmunised children who are susceptible to measles, many living in poor, remote communities where health systems are less resilient, and malnutrition and vitamin A deficiency are increasing. All these factors are likely to increase measles CFRs, creating the environment for measles to return in 2021, accompanied by increased mortality and the serious consequences of measles that were common decades ago.9
14 This is despite the fact that we have a highly cost-effective way to prevent this disease through measles vaccination.19
Three pillars of action are needed to address this concerning situation. First, urgent action is required to address the immediate risk of measles outbreaks by helping countries to reach unimmunised children through catch-up and campaigns. Second, countries need to prepare for the expected outbreaks. WHO and partners have developed a Strategic Response Plan to assist with measles outbreak prevention, preparedness, and response, and have launched a call to action and funding appeal.20
These additional resources would complement the support from Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, which does not extend to many middle-income countries. Finally, the international community must not lose sight of measles and rubella elimination targets. The Measles & Rubella Initiative’s new Measles and Rubella Strategic Framework 2021–2030,21 aligned with WHO’s Immunization Agenda 2030,22
provides a plan for strengthening routine immunisation and surveillance. These are the solutions to end the cycle of inadequate immunisation and outbreaks of the past decade. Without concerted efforts now, it is likely that the coming years will see an increase in measles and its severe, frequently fatal, complications.