Commending India for the progress made on Measles and Rubella vaccination progress, an expert advisory group has urged India to cover the entire country by the end of next year to ensure that every child is vaccinated against these two diseases, a statement issued by the Union Health Ministry said on Saturday.
The India Expert Advisory Group on Measles & Rubella (IEAG-MR) after reviewing the existing strategies and efforts towards measles elimination and control of rubella concluded that ‘the country is on the right track’.
Measles kills an estimated 49,000 children in India each year, which is about 37% of the global deaths due to this disease.
India has set an ambitious goal to eliminate measles from the country by 2020. However, Measles Rubella vaccine has been introduced only in 13 states. The Government has planned to expand across the country, covering 41 crore children by the end of next year.
The expert group consisting of national and international experts noted that the significant reduction in MCV-1st dose and MCV-2nd dose dropout rate which declined from 44% to 13%.
The expert group has also recommended to strengthen the surveillance for MR and to expand the MR laboratory network.
Applauding India’s efforts, WHO HQ representative Dr. Katrina Kretsinger said “India has shown tremendous leadership on advancing measles elimination and rubella control. It sets an important example globally, demonstrating best practices.”
Two doses of Measles vaccine fully protect children against measles infection. In the past while the 1st dose coverage was close to 90%, the 2nd dose lagged behind by 45%.
WHO says that a single dose of rubella vaccine gives more than 95% long-lasting immunity.
Photo: Deccan Chronicle