WNBA supports Measles Initiative

The WNBA has teamed with the American Red Cross to support the Measles Initiative.

The Measles Initiative, established by the Red Cross, United Nations Foundation, UNICEF, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Health Organization in 2001, aims to reduce global measles mortality through mass vaccination campaigns and strengthening of routine immunization overseas, reports.

"We are honored to have WNBA Cares by our side as the Measles Initiative enters its second decade of saving lives," David Meltzer, senior vice president of international services with the American Red Cross, told AlertNet. "Every day an estimated 450 people still die unnecessarily from measles. We are eager to mobilize WNBA athletes and fans to help curb this trend and defeat measles within our lifetime. This partnership is critical in ensuring the disease doesn't rebound."

The WNBA's Atlanta Dream, Phoenix Mercury and Seattle Storm, during the 2010 season, will host special Vaccinate a Village Nights. The nights will help in expanding awareness and education of the Measles Initiative and will include on-court promotions, public announcements and information booths.

Additionally, WNBA Cares will donate $25,000 to support the Measles Initiative in vaccinating 25,000 children.

"We're proud to support the Measles Initiative," Kathy Behrens, the NBA's executive vice president of social responsibility and player programs, told AlertNet. "It's important to provide education about this disease, and thanks to our players and teams, with Vaccinate a Village Night, we hope to bring more awareness about the issue to new audiences."

WNBA all-star Candace Parker and NBA legend Dikembe Mutombo will also record a public service announcement in support of the initiative.