A new study conducted by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health shows that vaccinating poor children against measles significantly improves their long-term chances for survival and dramatically reduces inequities in child health and survival. The study was conducted among children living in Bangladesh and is published in the June 2001 issue of Population and Development Review.
Unvaccinated children from poor families are three times more likely to die before age 5 compared to vaccinated children from families of higher socioeconomic status, says the studys author Michael Koenig, PhD, MA, associate professor of population and family health sciences at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Our research shows that measles vaccine decreases the mortality rate for children of poor families more than 50 percent, bringing it much closer in line with the mortality rate of children of wealthier families. In contrast, there was only a small differential in survival between vaccinated and unvaccinated children of higher socioeconomic status, explains Dr. Koenig.
For the study, researchers examined longitudinal data collected from the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research (ICDDR,B) in Matlab, Bangladesh. The researchers analyzed data from 8,135 children who received the measles vaccine between March 1982 and October 1985.
The children were matched with controls to determine whether the measles vaccine improved the long-term survival of vulnerable children, which included children of low socioeconomic status, females, and children of mothers with little education.
According to the research results, measles vaccine had the greatest impact on reducing the health and survival inequities of the most vulnerable children, especially children of lower socioeconomic status.
Vaccinated children from the poorest householdsthose living in homes less than 200 square feetwere 50 percent less likely to die than
Contact: Tim Parsons or Ming Tai
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health