Home / Healthcare/ WHO South-East Asia Region sets 2023 target to eliminate measles, rubella

WHO South-East Asia Region sets 2023 target to eliminate measles, rubella

Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Friday, 6 September 2019 00:00


Group photo at the 72nd Session of the WHO Regional Committee of South-East Asia in New Delhi 

Member Countries of WHO South-East Asia Region yesterday resolved to eliminate measles and rubella by 2023, to prevent deaths and disabilities caused by these highly-infectious childhood killer diseases.

“The new target to eliminate both the diseases will leverage the existing momentum and strong political commitment which is being demonstrated through unprecedented efforts, progress and successes in recent years,” said Dr. Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director WHO South-East Asia, as a resolution to eliminate the two diseases was adopted at the Seventy-Second Session of WHO Regional Committee for South-East Asia in New Delhi.

Measles elimination and rubella control has been a regional flagship priority since 2014. Five countries have eliminated measles – Bhutan, DPR Korea, Maldives, Sri Lanka and Timor-Leste. Six countries have controlled rubella – Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Timor-Leste.

To achieve the new targets, the Member countries resolved to strengthen immunization systems for increasing and sustaining high level of population immunity against measles and rubella at both national and sub-national levels.

The resolution calls for ensuring a highly sensitive laboratory supported case-based surveillance system – better evidence for appropriate planning and response. It also emphasises on preparedness for outbreak response activities for measles and rubella.

All countries pledged to mobilise political, societal and financial support to ensure interruption of transmission of indigenous measles and rubella virus by 2023.

The Member countries adopted a ‘Strategic Plan for Measles and Rubella Elimination 2020-2024’ that lays down the road map and focus areas to achieve the elimination targets in the Region. 

“Eliminating measles will prevent 500,000 deaths a year in the Region, while eliminating rubella/CRS would avert about 55,000 cases of rubella and promote health and well-being of pregnant woman and infants,” the Regional Director said.

The drive against measles and rubella/CRS gathered crucial momentum after 2014, when ‘Measles Elimination and Rubella/CRS Control by 2020’ was declared one of the eight Flagship Priority programmes for the Region and a Regional Strategic Plan was implemented across the Member States.

There has been a 23% decline in mortality due to measles in the 2014-17 period. Nearly 366 million children have been reached through mass vaccination campaigns with measles-rubella (MR) containing vaccines in the Region since January 2017. 

Children in all 11 Member countries have access to two doses of measles containing vaccine (MCV) and 10 countries have access to rubella-containing vaccine.

The decision to revise the targets of measles and rubella elimination was preceded by several consultations, including during the WHO South-East Asia Regional Immunization Technical Advisory Group meeting in July 2019. The WHO Regional Office for South-East Asia also conducted high-level consultations, in March 2019, with Member States on the feasibility of adopting the new target.

Measles is particularly dangerous for the poor, as it attacks malnourished children and those with reduced immunity. Measles can cause serious complications, including blindness, encephalitis, severe diarrhoea, ear infection and pneumonia while rubella/congenital rubella syndrome (CRS) causes irreversible birth defects.

Share This Article

Facebook Twitter


1. All comments will be moderated by the Daily FT Web Editor.

2. Comments that are abusive, obscene, incendiary, defamatory or irrelevant will not be published.

3. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.

4. Kindly use a genuine email ID and provide your name.

5. Spamming the comments section under different user names may result in being blacklisted.


Today's Columnists

Doomsday experts and entrepreneurial policymaking

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Views of two economic experts caught my eye last week. While one has given a scathing criticism of the Government for its handling of the economy, the other has given an analysis of the so-called “debt problem” of Sri Lanka. Doomsday scenario by

Gotabaya’s promise and corporate Sri Lanka

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

In the backdrop of the $ 93 billion economy, Sri Lanka is wobbling with overall household consumption declining to 4.7% growth and GDP forecasted at 2.7%, which means Sri Lanka is in for tough times. In this backdrop the first candidate off the block

Industry 4.0, disruptive technology and MAS Matrix: An example for way forward in Sri Lanka

Monday, 16 September 2019

Technology has always been disruptive. When a new technology is introduced, it changes the way the humankind lives, behaves, earns, interacts and communicates. Some 10,000 years ago, when agriculture and animal breeding were domesticated through the

Radically reinvented reality: Relevance to Sri Lanka

Monday, 16 September 2019

I am delighted to be involved in the National HR Conference 2019, the largest HR event in South Asia. This time it is on the theme ‘Radically Reinvented Reality’. We need to take another look at the way we act institutionally and nationally, in u

Columnists More