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Measles is one of the most contagious and severe childhood diseases. Every day, it takes the lives of hundreds of children around the world.
Even if a child survives, measles can cause permanent disabilities, such as blindness or brain damage. The risk is great in developing countries where there is a prevalence of malnourishment and limited access to health care.
But there is hope. Since 2001, the American Red Cross and our partners in the Measles & Rubella Initiative have vaccinated children in places such as Kenya, Benin, and Ethiopia to protect them from these deadly diseases. It costs about $2 to vaccinate a child against measles and rubella, making it one of the most cost-effective health interventions available.
The Red Cross plays a pivotal role in vaccination campaigns worldwide. Local volunteers use mass media, rallies, door-to-door visits, and educational entertainment to reach families who do not have access to routine health services. Whether in distant villages or urban settlements, these campaigns may be the only way for children to receive this lifesaving vaccine.