The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced that it is scaling up its response to ongoing measles outbreaks in the European region. The organisation is creating an operational platform to accelerate its support to affected countries.
The decision follows an assessment of the regional measles situation based on the volume of people affected by the disease and the persistence of pockets of non-immunised or under-immunised individuals in many countries. Data show that since 1 January 2018, 47 of the 53 countries in the region have together reported over 100,000 measles cases and over 90 measles-related deaths.
While the WHO says it has supported countries over time to tackle the spread of the disease, as measles continues to circulate across countries, more needs to be done.
“We have observed an unprecedented upsurge in people sick with this preventable disease, and too many have lost their lives to it,” says Dr Dorit Nitzan, Acting Regional Emergency Director at the WHO Regional Office for Europe. “This is unacceptable and we need to be bolder and scale up our response to the next level. I am proud to see that different parts and levels of WHO are intensifying their combined efforts to stop these outbreaks.”