Fight Back Against Measles Outbreak in West Africa

Target: President Barack Obama

Goal: Help prevent deadly outbreak of measles in the wake of the Ebola epidemic.

Thousands of people in West Africa could die of entirely preventable measles in the coming months due to the reduction of regular vaccinations that took place during the ongoing Ebola epidemic. Health officials say that these deaths can be prevented with a comprehensive public vaccination campaign. Demand that President Obama offer American public health resources to West African nations to help in this campaign.

According to a recent report released by Science, 227,000 West Africans could become infected with measles over the next 18 months, leading to between 2,000 and 16,000 deaths. These numbers are double the regular amount of expected cases, due to the disruption in regular public vaccination programs the Ebola emergency has caused over the past year.

Thousands of people, rightfully wary of being exposed to the Ebola virus, were unable to go to hospitals and public health clinics to get themselves and their children vaccinated against measles. Experts say that this disruption in vaccinations can be mitigated, and thousands of lives saved, by conducting “a one-time aggressive regional vaccination campaign.”

The United States has a wealth of public health resources at its disposal. It is only right that we do what we can to help the countries in this region vaccinate their populations and save lives. Sign the petition below to demand that President Obama offer our nation’s help in conducting this public health campaign.


Dear President Obama,

I am writing you today regarding the public health crisis currently unfolding in West Africa. While the Ebola epidemic is still a major concern for the region, a secondary emergency is just around the corner.

Due to the Ebola epidemic, thousands upon thousands of West African children were unable to get their routine vaccinations to protect them from childhood diseases. As a result, experts predict that there will be a massive increase in cases of measles in the region over the course of the next 18 months. This increase will cause thousands of deaths, possibly even more than those brought on by Ebola in the first place.

Thankfully, this potential epidemic is avoidable, but only if enough people are vaccinated against measles to make up for the reduction that took place over the course of the Ebola crisis. For that to be achieved, an intensive regional vaccination campaign needs to happen.

While West African countries have the expertise to conduct such a vaccination campaign, their resources are in all likelihood still strained by having to contend with the Ebola epidemic for such a prolonged period of time. The United States can help. I urge you to offer our public health resources to the countries in the region to help conduct this urgent vaccination campaign.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Fæ via Wikimedia Commons

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