The India Expert Advisory Group on Measles & Rubella (IEAG-MR) has commended India on progress of measles and rubella vaccination campaign. It reviewed existing strategies and efforts towards measles elimination and control of rubella. It concluded that India is on the right track.
IEAG-MR as advised for MCV (measles containing vaccine) to cover whole country by 2018. Presently, 13 states have been covered by the vaccination campaign.
MR vaccination campaign
The campaign is largest ever in any campaign against MR, targeting around 41 crore children across country. Under it, children are given single shot of MR vaccination free-of cost irrespective of their previous vaccination status or disease status. The target group covered under it are all children aged between 9 months and less than 15 years. Two doses of Measles vaccine fully protect children against measles infection. In past while the first dose coverage was close to 90% and 2nd dose lagged behind by 45%.
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 socio-economic burden on the families in particular and society in general.