WHO/Europe reaches out to health professional associations to promote measles and rubella elimination

“We believe each and every healthcare worker involved in immunization has a role to play in the elimination of measles and rubella,” says Dr Abigail Shefer, Technical Officer and head of the Accelerated Disease Control team at WHO/Europe. “We know that, more often than not, people trust their doctors and nurses and the advice they give,” she continues, “so we are urging healthcare workers to strongly recommend vaccination and to take every opportunity to vaccinate. Even if a child came to see the doctor for another reason, each visit to a health care facility is an opportunity that should not be wasted.”

New infographic on role of healthcare workers

To achieve this goal, WHO has produced a new infographic aimed at healthcare workers and has teamed up with the International Paediatric Association to circulate the information to the widest possible audience.

Despite the fact that the vast majority of people living in the WHO European Region have access to safe and affordable vaccines, outbreaks continue to flare up in the Region. Only around half of the Member States in the Region have been able to show that the virus no longer has sustained transmission in their country. There are indications that the situation is getting worse rather than better: in 2007 there were 7073 cases of measles region-wide, in 2013 there were 31 685, representing an increase of 348%.

Urgent action is needed to improve immunization coverage and ultimately work towards the elimination of measles and rubella globally. Worldwide, measles alone accounts for 450 deaths every day.The first step towards this global aspiration is to achieve elimination in the WHO European Region.