Jointly, UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) have come up with an urgent call to action to avoid massive measles and polio as the Coronavirus pandemic continues to disrupt immunization services across the country. The world puts millions of vulnerable children at risk.
Both UN organizations estimate that $ 655 million – $ 400 million for polio is needed – and $ 255 million for measles – for Gavi non-eligible countries and target age groups .
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, said that the pandemic has had a “devastating impact” on the global health care system and especially immunization services. But unlike the new Coronavirus infection, he said, “we have the tools and knowledge to prevent diseases like polio and measles. What we need is the resources and commitment to put the tools out there. This tool and knowledge comes into play. If we do that, children̵7;s lives will be saved. “
Fight all diseases Not just COVID-19
Henrietta Fore, Executive Director of UNICEF said that while fighting against the Coronavirus pandemic, the world cannot allow it “to make us lose our foothold in the fight against other diseases.” The status of COVID-19 is critical, but there are other deadly diseases that also threaten the lives of millions of children in some of the world’s poorest regions.
This is why “we are urgently calling for global action from our national leaders, donors and partners,” said Fore. Efforts from UN agencies need additional financial support to continue vaccination campaigns safely, as well as prioritize immunization systems that are critically important to protect children and prevent prevent diseases other than SARS-CoV-2.
In the past few years, measles has reappeared globally with continuous outbreaks everywhere on the planet. This year, the gap in vaccination coverage is getting worse by the Coronavirus pandemic. Measles is an ongoing health problem and last year it climbed to the highest number of new infections in more than two decades. Annual mortality data for 2019 to be released next week will reveal negative numbers continuing around the world.
Experts believe that the transmission of polio virus could increase in Pakistan and Afghanistan as well as many areas in Africa. Failure to eliminate the disease could lead to a global resurgence of polio, which could cause 200,000 new cases annually, over 10 years, according to UNICEF.
However, the world can expect some good news soon as organizations plan new tools, including the next-generation oral polio vaccine and the Measles Outbreak Strategic Response Plan. can be rolled out in the coming months, which will help address growing threats. and save millions of lives.
Death from tuberculosis during the Pandemic
Recently, scientists said hundreds of thousands of deaths from tuberculosis could occur by 2020 due to the pandemic impact of global health services.
In countries such as Africa, India and Indonesia, doctors as well as health care staff have shifted the focus from monitoring TB to Coronavirus cases. As a result, millions of TB diagnoses have been omitted, and according to WHO, this could cause 200,000 to 400,000 TB deaths in 2020 alone.
Thomas Kenyon, medical director of Project Hope, the humanitarian NGO, said this was just one example of the very difficult choices that had to be made to prevent the Coronavirus pandemic. According to him, “It is clear that we have to deal with the pandemic but we cannot forget that we have other killers among us. We will have to innovate in dealing with them.”