WHO, UNICEF Raise Fresh Alarm over Threats of Measles Epidemic


World Health Organisation (WHO) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have called for urgent action to check the impending measles and polio epidemic especially as the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to disrupt immunisation services in Nigeria and poorest countries in the world.

WHO Director-General, Tedros Ghebreyesus, explained that COVID-19 has had a devastating effect on health services and in particular immunisation services worldwide.

According to him, “We cannot allow the fight against one deadly disease to cause us to lose ground in the fight against other diseases. Addressing global COVID-19 pandemic is critical.

“However, other deadly diseases also threaten the lives of millions of children in some of the poorest areas of the world.

“That is why today we are urgently calling for global action from country leaders, donors and partners.

“We need additional financial resources to safely resume vaccination campaigns and prioritize immunisation systems that are critical to protect children and avert other epidemics besides COVID-19.”

To UNICEF Nigeria Country Representative, Peter Hawkins, immunisation is the best way to secure the future of children.

He said: “All caregivers and parents need to ensure that their children are fully vaccinated and protected from childhood killer diseases – including ensuring that all doses are taken so that the vaccine can be effective.

‘We must continue to engage traditional and religious institutions, as well as other key stakeholders at the community level, to stay vigilant and keep up vaccination rates to avert a resurgence of the wild poliovirus

“Also, we must continue to address the continued threat of vaccine-derived polio and other vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks, including measles.”

Idowu Sowunmi