The India Expert Advisory Group on Measles & Rubella (IEAG-MR) has commended India on the progress of the measles and rubella vaccination campaign. The expert member group concluded that ‘the country is on the right track’. The group has advised for the MR vaccination campaign to cover the whole country by 2018. Presently, 13 states have been covered by the vaccination campaign.
About MR campaign:
The MR campaign targets around 41 crore children across the country, the largest ever in any campaign. Under the campaign, children will be given a single shot of Measles-Rubella (MR) vaccination irrespective of their previous measles/rubella vaccination status or measles/rubella disease status. MR vaccine will be provided free- of- cost across the states from session sites at schools as well as health facilities and outreach session sites.
Target group: All children aged between 9 months and less than 15 years will be covered.
About Measles and Rubella:
Measles is a deadly disease and one of the important causes of death in children. It is highly contagious and spreads through coughing and sneezing of an infected person. Measles can make a child vulnerable to life-threatening complications such as pneumonia, diarrhoea and brain infection. Globally, in 2015, measles killed an estimated 1, 34,200 children—mostly under-5 years. In India, it killed an estimated 49,200 children.
Rubella is generally a mild infection but has serious consequences if infection occurs in pregnant women, causing congenital rubella syndrome (CRS), which is a cause of public health concern. CRS is characterized by congenital anomalies in the foetus and newborns affecting the eyes (glaucoma, cataract), ears (hearing loss), brain (microcephaly, mental retardation) and heart defects, causing a huge socioeconomic burden on the families in particular and society in general.
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. Measles-Rubella vaccine has been introduced in 13 states. It is planned to expand across the country, covering 41 crore children by the end of 2018.