Europe has recorded the most measles cases in years when seeing more than 75,000 cases in 2018. In Ukraine alone, 54,000 cases were reported.
In 2019 to date, Ukraine has already recorded 24,000 cases and nine deaths.
Poor immunization coverage has contributed to the measles outbreak in Ukraine. In 2018, the measles vaccination rate for newborn babies was only 54 per cent, which is amongst the lowest in the world. This is well below the target of 95 per cent recommended by the World Health Organization. A rate of 95 per cent would protect even those members of the community who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons.
This has prompted the Ukrainian Red Cross Society to deploy volunteers to help contain a measles outbreak.
Professor Mykola Polishchuk, Acting President of Ukrainian Red Cross Society, said: “Ukraine has one of the lowest vaccination rates against measles in the world and this is a very worrying trend. We are deploying 100 Red Cross volunteers to raise awareness about vaccination and conduct education campaigns to stop the spread of this disease.”
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