Three out of every four children who died from measles worldwide in 2008 were from India. Globally, an estimated 400 children die each day from measles.
The health ministry along with the UNICEF launched the ‘Measles Catch-Up' campaign in Delhi on Tuesday to immunise more than 134 million children across 14 states next year.
“Measles is among the world’s most contagious diseases and one of the leading causes of death among children,” said Anuradha Gupta, joint secretary, ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
“India is currently introducing the second dose of measles vaccination that should prevent 60,000 to 100,000 child deaths annually,” she said.
“In November 2008, the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunisation, the principal advisory body to the (WHO), recommended that all children should receive two doses of measles vaccination,” said Dr Steven Sosler, WHO.
In 2010, introduced the second dose of measles vaccine in 21 states where coverage for measles vaccination was more than 80%. Children aged nine months to under 10 years in the remaining 14 high-risk states will now be immunised.
These states include Haryana, Bihar, Jharkhand, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and north-eastern states of Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura.