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Dance-a-thon fundraiser supports Measles Initiative
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Sue Franson, David Richardson and Aubrey Galvin
 
November 8, 2006

Led by their president, Gopal Narsimhamurthy, the Youth Council of the American Red Cross of Central New Jersey sponsored a dance-a-thon that raised nearly $10,000 for the Measles Initiative.

American Red Cross youth volunteer Gopal Narsimhamurthy (center) congratulates dance-a-thon participants on raising nearly $10,000 for the Measles Initiative. (Photo Credit: American Red Cross of Central New Jersey)
American Red Cross youth volunteer Gopal Narsimhamurthy (center) congratulates dance-a-thon participants on raising nearly $10,000 for the Measles Initiative.
(Photo Credit: American Red Cross of Central New Jersey)

Narsimhamurthy has been a Red Cross volunteer for four years. In addition to heading the chapter’s youth council he also serves as the vice president of the South Brunswick Red Cross Club. His service has earned Narsimhamurthy the National Youth Involvement Month award and has earned his chapter a $500 grant to support future youth programs.

“Gopal is an ideal youth volunteer,” says Aubrey Galvin, Youth and Volunteer Administrator of the Central New Jersey chapter. “He is working hard and leading well.”

Galvin reports that Narsimhamurthy worked tirelessly at the chapter and his school to make the dance-a-thon a resounding success. He secured funds for the advertisement booklet and food for the event. He was there for the set-up through the clean-up, managed the schedule, and provided kind words and smiles for fellow volunteers. The event was so successful that a second dance-a-thon is scheduled for March 2007.

The money raised by the dance-a-thon supported the local chapter and the Measles Initiative. The Measles Initiative, launched in 2001, is a partnership committed to reducing measles deaths globally, with the goal of cutting measles deaths by 90 percent by 2010 compared to 2000. Measles Initiative partners include the American Red Cross, UN Foundation, CDC, World Health Organization, and UNICEF. It costs less than $1 to vaccinate a child against measles.

Largely due to the technical and financial support of the Measles Initiative, more than 217 million children have been vaccinated against measles and 1.2 million lives have been saved since 1999.

Building on this achievement, in 2005, the Initiative has expanded its technical and financial support to countries in Asia, where total measles deaths are highest outside of sub-Saharan Africa. The Initiative will also continue the successful ‘integrated child health campaigns’ in which health workers provide not only measles vaccines, but also insecticide-treated nets for malaria prevention, vitamin A, de-worming medication and polio vaccines.

Since 2001, the Measles Initiative has mobilized more than $308 million and supported more than 43 countries in Africa and Asia to implement high-quality measles vaccination campaigns. As a result, global measles deaths have dropped by 48 percent—from 871,000 in 1999 to an estimated 454,000 in 2004—thanks to improvements in routing and supplementary immunization activities. The largest reduction occurred in Africa, the region with the highest burden of the disease, where estimated measles cases and deaths dropped by 60 percent.


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