The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare launched Measles Rubella (MR) vaccination campaign in the country. The campaign against these two diseases will start from five States/UTs (Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Goa and Lakshadweep).
- It will be taken up in a mission mode approach and rolled out in partnership with States, NGOs and development partners such as WHO, UNICEF, Gates Foundation, Lions Club, IPA, IMA, etc.
- All children aged between 9 months and less than 15 years 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.
- Measles vaccine is currently provided under Universal Immunization Programme (UIP). However, rubella vaccine will be a new addition.
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. In India, in 2015, measles 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 new-borns 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.
In 2010, an estimated 1,03,000 children were born with CRS (congenital rubella syndrome) globally, of which around 47,000 children, i.e. 46% were in South-East Asia Region.
Measles immunization directly contributes to the reduction of under-five child mortality, and with combination of rubella vaccine, will control rubella and prevent CRS in country population. Given the wide target group of the vaccination campaign, schools and educational institutions will play a critical role, and will require partnership from multiple stakeholders at all levels.