20 million children globally risk dying from measles, tetanus, diphtheria

Sunday July 21 2019

Nurse administers a vaccine to a child.

Vaccines remain one of the most trusted and basic preventers of outbreaks of some diseases, WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says.  

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The world risks losing over 20 million children to diphtheria, measles and tetanus every year due to a lack of vaccinations.

The World Health Organization and Unicef have said extreme poverty is the major cause hence failure to vaccinate children against the epidemic.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the WHO said, “While most children today are being vaccinated, far too many are left behind. Unacceptably, it is often those who are most at risk — the poorest, the most marginalised, those touched by conflict or forced from their homes — who are persistently missed.”

He added that vaccines remain one of the most trusted and basic preventers of such outbreaks and that the world is not be safe in their absence.

Measles, which is one of the most contagious diseases with the potential to be extremely severe, risen by 300 per cent in the first three months of 2019 which arrays a continuous increase in the first two years.

The most affected countries include the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Madagascar, Myanmar, the Philippines, Sudan, Thailand, and Ukraine, causing many deaths – mostly among young children.


Vaccination against these ailments has gone down by a whole 85 per cent for the past few years. These ailments, however, have also been reported in countries with high vaccination coverage.

Some cases have, however, also been reported in countries like the US, Israel, Tunisia, and Thailand.