WHO urges investment to stop measles transmission in Europe

01 October 2019

Article: 53/3902

On 24 September 2019, the first World Health Organization (WHO) Strategic Response Plan (SRP) for a measles emergency was launched, in order to ensure financial commitment to stop the spread of measles in the WHO European Region.

Over 120,000 measles cases were reported in the region between August 2018 and July 2019, which is more than the total number for a 12-month period reported in over a decade. Of the region’s 53 countries, 48 reported cases in this period.

As measles continues to circulate in Europe, the WHO has urged a stronger response by the international community. In May 2019, the WHO classified measles outbreaks across the region as a grade two emergency. 

The newly launched SRP provides a resource mobilization tool to accelerate tailored interventions in measles-affected and at-risk countries, where investments will have the greatest possible impact. Current capacity in many European countries is not sufficient to control measles outbreaks and achieve the regional measles elimination goal. It is hoped the SRP will represent a turning point for many countries in the region in stopping measles transmission and strengthen their health systems to prevent outbreaks in the future.

The SRP covers the period of September 2019 to December 2020, and will be reviewed and updated if necessary. Actions include: 

  • bringing the outbreaks under control 
  • providing safe care to patients 
  • increasing high-level commitment 
  • strengthening vaccine acceptance and demand 
  • increasing preparedness and risk mitigation 
  • reviewing outbreak response

The outputs of this SRP will complement and accelerate regional action to reach targets for measles elimination as defined in the European Vaccine Action Plan.

Source: WHO Europe, 24 September 2019