Effective outbreak response reduces the risk of measles spread in the Pacific

For Samoa, the country experienced a widescale measles outbreak which had significant impact upon the country’s population and health system.

The disease has cost lives, with infants and young children being most affected.

In response to the identification of measles in the region, many Pacific countries and areas have made serious efforts to close immunity gaps in their population and strengthen infectious disease prevention, surveillance and response systems.

Measles outbreaks due to 'complacency': UNICEF

In Samoa, 70 people have died and there are more than 4000 confirmed cases of the disease.

In Fiji, the number of confirmed cases is rising.

Mass vaccination campaigns have been underway in both countries.

UNICEF's chief of immunisation, Robin Nandy, said he was "deeply concerned and disappointed" by the situation in Samoa.

"We should not be seeing these sorts of outbreaks in 2019 when we've had a very inexpensive, safe and efficacious vaccine for several decades now.

UNICEF on Samoa measles outbreak: 'The situation is huge'

There are now 60 measles-related deaths, with children making up most of the fatalities.

There are also 174 people still in hospital including 18 critically-ill children.

UNICEF's representative for the Pacific, Sheldon Yett, said Samoa was a small country and with its limited resources, the measles outbreak was proving overwhelming.

UN agencies tell Pacific to vaccinate against measles

They said this should to happen before travelling internationally, attending major events or community gatherings.

Vaccination provided the best protection against measles and parents should get their children immunised, the agencies said.

In October, Samoa and Tonga both declared measles outbreaks.

Both UNICEF and the WHO said they were continuing to provide resources to Pacific states to respond to the measles threat.


Training and preparation underway in Samoa for restart of MMR vaccinations

The immunisation programme was suspended for several months after the deaths of two children last July following their MMR vaccinations.

Pacific Representative Sheldon Yett said public hesitancy was understandable after such an event, but active outreaches and community education was underway to try and lift the immunisation rates in Samoa.

He said the Samoan government was very eager to get the MMR vaccinations back up and running as current international measles outbreaks mean the introduction of the disease to the country could be just a plane ride away.

Clean water and sanitation a huge Pacific challenge - UNICEF

That's according to the UN agency for children or UNICEF which works with almost a million children across the region.

Pacific representative Sheldon Yett said there are many factors hampering progress on the issue including geography, natural disasters and the negative impacts of climate change.

"We are working actually to make sure that they can make the most out of the water that they have. To make sure that kids have access to good hygiene. To make sure that kids are teaching their parents and other community members what to do.

The company cleaning up the world's biggest hotels

Around the world, five million hotel soaps make their way to landfills every single day.

But Clean the World aims turn those discarded slabs into a life-changing commodity.

With recycling centers in the United States and Hong Kong, the not-for-profit corporation has partnered with 5,000 hotels internationally to recycle soap from nearly one million hotel rooms daily, distributing them instead to families, schools and organizations in need.

​The largest buyer of children’s vaccines

The figures, released during World Immunization Week, make UNICEF the largest buyer of vaccines for children in the world.

Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan, the three remaining polio-endemic countries, each received more doses of vaccines than any other country, with almost 450 million doses of vaccines procured to children in Nigeria, 395 million in Pakistan and over 150 million in Afghanistan. UNICEF is the lead procurement agency for the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.

Increase in sicknesses in quake affected Solomon Islands

It said the increase is particularly noticeable in Makira Province which was closest to the epicentre of last month's 7.8 magnitude quake.

The head of UNICEF Solomon Islands Yun Jong Kang said a health awareness campaign would be broadcast on national radio and health messages sent to mobile phones to try and address the increase in illnesses.

He said health workers, volunteers and parents would also be using health and hygiene brochures and flip charts to encourage better hygiene in homes and around the community.

David Beckham: Stand up for children everywhere

During a preseason tour with the club to Thailand in 2001, I visited a local child protection center that was providing vital support to children as young as five who'd experienced violence and abuse. Seeing the organization's incredible work firsthand had a great impact on me, especially as my son Brooklyn was just 2 years old at the time, and as a new father I wanted to do what I could to help.