Lions’ Work to End Measles
What is Measles?
- Measles is a highly contagious viral disease and large outbreaks continue to occur around the world, putting children at risk of severe health complications such as pneumonia, diarrhea, encephalitis, blindness and death.
245 people still die every day because of measles. This number has declined steadily due to the strengthening of routine immunization services and mass vaccination campaigns, but continued progress relies on continued funding and support.
Lions fight measles by providing physical support through social mobilization and advocacy.
The safe and effective measles vaccine costs only about US$1.
One Shot, One Life: Lions Measles Initiative
A dedicated partner in the global Measles and Rubella Initiative, LCIF introduced their own measles initiative, One Shot, One Life: Lions Measles Initiative, when Lions knew they could be a successful addition to the global efforts of reducing the prevalence of measles.
In 2010, Lions and LCIF received an initial grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help fight measles within four specific regions: Ethiopia, Madagascar, Mali and Nigeria. Lions involved in this pilot initiative focused their efforts in three main areas: (1) advocacy at the local, regional and national levels (2) direct involvement in social marketing and mobilization (3) financial support. The efforts by Lions and the Measles Initiative partners were tremendously successful, resulting in 41 million children being vaccinated within these four countries.
Because of the success of the pilot initiative and the role Lions serve within communities around the world, the Gates Foundation awarded LCIF a US$5 million challenge grant in October 2011. Lions and LCIF were asked to match this funding with US$10 million – providing a total of US$15 million for the fight against measles. Lions met this challenge in October 2012, helping to vaccinate more than 150 million children against measles in 2012.
In addition to providing financial support, Lion members began actively supporting vaccination campaigns within more than 25 different countries. Lions within the pilot areas continued their advocacy efforts and Lions clubs within many of the measles priority countries actively began planning for upcoming campaigns. Since 2010, Lions at the country level have been supporting more than 60 measles or measles-rubella activities.
Continuing the Fight
LCIF continues efforts to empower Lions to help children around the world. In December 2017, LCIF completed their commitment to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance by raising US$30 million. The Gavi Matching Fund, funded by the United Kingdom’s Department for Internal Development (DFID) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is matching the contributions dollar for dollar, bringing the total amount raised to US$60 million. The financial support from LCIF and the Gavi Matching Fund has immunized 87.7 million children against this debilitating and deadly disease, avoiding 61,000 future deaths.
Lions will continue the fight against measles, focusing on advocacy and social mobilization. Lions are out in their communities talking with parents, schools, local governments, and other community leaders. They are volunteering at vaccination centers, dispelling common misconceptions about the measles and the measles vaccine, and spreading the word about why it’s important for every child to be immunized from measles.
To support Lions in their fight to end measles, consider contributing to LCIF.