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close this bookFact sheet No 178: Reducing Mortality from Major Killers of Children - Revised September 1998 (WHO, 1998, 7 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentIntegrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI)
View the documentPneumonia: correct management could save over 1 million lives per year
View the documentDiarrhoea: correct management could save nearly 1.8 million lives per year
View the documentMeasles: effective prevention and treatment could save 700 000 lives per year
View the documentMalaria: correct management could save 500 000 lives per year
View the documentMalnutrition: improved feeding practices could save 800 000 lives per year
View the documentOther prevention activities
View the documentResearch and development
View the documentImproving health systems
View the documentImproving health worker skills
View the documentImproving family practices

Measles: effective prevention and treatment could save 700 000 lives per year

Despite the major impact made on this disease by successful immunization programmes, measles infects over 40 million children and kills over 800 000 under-fives each year. That translates to 2 000 deaths of young children every day from measles, often in association with diarrhoea and pneumonia.

IMCI reduces the death toll from measles by promoting:

· Wider immunization coverage;
· Rapid referral of serious cases;
· Prompt recognition of conditions that occur in association with measles;
· Improved nutrition, including breastfeeding, and vitamin A supplementation.

Young children with measles often develop acute respiratory infections, diarrhoea and malnutrition, and children who survive measles are more vulnerable to other dangerous infections for several months afterwards. IMCI-trained health workers learn to recognize the complications of measles that they can treat and those that need rapid referral for more specialized treatment.