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Global leaders renew commitment to preventing a major childhood killer – measles

Cape Town Measles Declaration calls for intensified international commitment to cut measles deaths by half

The Global Measles Forum is pleased to invite you to the launch of the Cape Town Measles Declaration. International health leaders will join together to pledge their commitment to reduce measles deaths and describe proven strategies to sustainably prevent these deaths. Increasing measles vaccination is a critical factor in achieving the target set at the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on Children in 2002 to reduce measles deaths by 50 per cent compared with 1999 levels by the end of 2005 and is a critical indicator for the Millennium Development Goal of reducing under-five mortality by two-thirds by 2015. With the launch of the Cape Town Measles Declaration, world health leaders will affirm their commitment toward achieving this tangible public health goal.

Measles kills an estimated 745,000 children each year (over half in Africa) and causes serious complications, such as blindness, encephalitis, and pneumonia. It is the leading cause of vaccine-preventable death among children and the 5th leading overall cause of death among children less than five years old.

WHAT: The Global Measles Forum and launch of the Cape Town Measles Declaration

WHO: Ms. Carol Bellamy, Executive Director, UNICEF
Dr. LEE Jong-wook, Director-General, World Health Organization (taped statement)
Dr. Stephen L. Cochi, Director, Global Immunization Division, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Mr. Nick Farrell, Senior Programme Officer, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
Dr. Mark Grabowsky, Senior Technical Officer, American Red Cross
Ms. Angelique Kidjo, performer, UNICEF special ambassador
Additional speakers will include representatives of health ministries and donor governments.

WHERE: Lord Charles Hotel, Somerset West, Cape Winelands; Grand Ballroom

WHEN: Friday, October 17, 2003, 10:00 -11:30 a.m

An information kit will be available, along with broadcast quality video footage and reproduction quality photographs.

There will be a photo call with keynote speakers and children.

CONTACTS: Melissa Corkum, Information Officer, WHO, phone: 41-22-791-765, mobile: 41-79-500-6554.; Mohammed Jalloh, International Communication Officer, UNICEF, 212-326-7516.; Julie Irby, Associate, International Communication, American Red Cross, phone: 202-303-4264; mobile: 202-439-0722. ;Roy Probert, press officer, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, phone: 41-22-730-4296; mobile: 41-79-217-3386.; Laura Rogers, Director of Communications, United Nations Foundation, phone: 202-887-9040.; Steven Stewart, Health Communications, CDC, phone: 404-639-8327.