Muskoka Initiative Toronto Conference

Toronto photo
Toronto, Canada

Prime Minister Stephen Harper this week hosted a high-profile conference in Toronto to mark the fourth anniversary of the Muskoka Initiative (Child Maternal Health Initiative). It is a global effort to reduce maternal mortality and improve the health of mothers and children in the world’s poorest countries. The Toronto conference theme is “Saving every women, every child.”

UNICEF states that about 29,000 children under the age of five  die every day, mainly from preventable causes. More than 70 per cent of almost 11 million child deaths every year are attributable to six causes: diarrhea, malaria, neonatal infection, pneumonia, preterm delivery, or lack of oxygen at birth.

Simple interventions are a hugely effective tool. One is vaccinations for children under five.  Prime Minister Stephen Harper said vaccinations are “proven to work,” and that they have been “lifesavers” in our society and elsewhere,  in an interview with CBC News. Harper offered advice to those who have their own theories and do not listen to scientific evidence. “Don’t indulge your theories, think of your children and listen to the experts,” he said.

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Measles cases in US soar

Measles Virus
Measles Virus

Measles is a highly contagious illness that can lead to serious complications and death.  Although measles elimination  was declared in the United States in 2000 since the first of this year 288 cases have been reported.

Nearly all the cases have been linked to travelers who caught the virus abroad and spread it in the United States among unvaccinated people.  The most frequent sources of importations were unvaccinated U.S. travelers returning from abroad.

Vaccinations were declined because of religious, philosophical, or personal objections.

Online:  CDC Measles-United States Press Release