The World Health Organization (WHO) has launched its first-ever Strategic Response Plan (SRP) for a measles emergency to ensure financial commitment to stop the spread of the disease in the WHO European Region.
Over 120,000 measles cases were reported between August 2018 and July 2019, which is more than the total number for a 12-month period reported in the Region in over a decade. Of the Region’s 53 countries, 48 reported cases in this period.
In May this year, WHO classified measles outbreaks across the Region as a Grade 2 emergency, and is now calling for a stronger international response.
The newly launched SRP provides a resource mobilisation tool to accelerate tailored interventions in measles-affected and at-risk countries, where investments will have the greatest possible impact. The SRP covers the period of September 2019 to December 2020, to be reviewed and updated if necessary.
Actions include bringing outbreaks under control, strengthening vaccine acceptance and demand, and increasing preparedness and risk mitigation.
The outputs of this SRP will complement and accelerate regional action to reach measles elimination targets as defined in the European Vaccine Action Plan, said the WHO.
The move comes as two foetal losses to pregnant women diagnosed with measles in Auckland, New Zealand, were announced.