Wednesday, 21 March 2012
Measles kills children
I wasn't immunised against measles (rubeola) as a child. The vaccine wasn't available. Actually I received no immunisations of any sort in infancy. My mother refused them, influenced I think by the idiosyncratic health views of my maternal grandmother. I have had some done as an adult when I could make my own decisions. All our children received the various immunisation offered by the UK National Health Service, including the one for measles.
I've had measles twice, at 5 years and 22 years old. Both times I remember feeling really ill, but recovered well with no permanent health damage. The first time I realized how dangerous measles can be was when I met a boy whose severe and permanent disabilities had been caused by measles which led to encephalitis.
Measles is often also a killer disease particular in children whose health is already impaired by poor nutrition and unhealthy living conditions. It is highly contagious.
According to Christian Aid's 'Count Your Blessings' Lent calendar today it kills a child every 3 minutes. A quarter of infants in south Asia have not been immunised against measles.
Christian Aid suggests giving 5p for every immunisation you have had in the last 5 years. I think I had a tetanus booster about 5 years ago - that's all, so that's 5p for Christian Aid.