India’s Measles-Rubella vaccine campaign a success

The government has plans to expand Measles-Rubella vaccination to cover 41 crore children in all states by the end of 2018.

health Updated: Nov 12, 2017 18:37 IST
Rhythma Kaul
Rhythma Kaul
Hindustan Times, New DElhi
Measles-Rubella vaccine,WHO,Union health ministry
File photo of an infant being given Measles-Rubella vaccine.(HT Photo)

The dropout rate of the Measles-Rubella (MR) vaccine has fallen from 44% to 13% since the vaccine was introduced in 13 states in January 2017, shows data from Union ministry of health.

Measles affects 2.7 million children and kills an estimated 49,000 children in India each year, which is about 37% of the global deaths, estimates the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Measles is a highly contagious viral infection and congenital rubella syndrome (CRS) causes serious and irreversible birth defects.

India has set an ambitious goal to eliminate measles from the country and plans to expand MR vaccination to cover 41 crore children in all states by the end of 2018.

“The country is fully committed to achieving the goal of measles elimination and rubella control to protect its children from these diseases,” Preeti Sudan, Union health secretary said on Saturday.

“We will make appropriate programmatic and strategic modifications based on learnings during the different phases of the campaign for the success.”

Read more: Health department to go tough on schools opposing drive against measles-rubella

Two doses of measles vaccine fully protect children against measles infection.

In the past, while the first dose coverage was close to 90%, the second dose lagged behind by 45%.

To reach those children who fall through the cracks, health ministry launched Intensified Mission Indradhanush programme last month.

“The programme has been intensified and it is already showing results at the ground level. We have a robust programme in place, and what we are trying is to plug the gaps so that maximum coverage can be achieved,” said a senior health ministry official.

First Published: Nov 12, 2017 18:37 IST