India accelerating efforts to eliminate measles and control rubella by 2020
Accelerating efforts to eliminate measles and control rubella, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, convened a meeting of an Expert Advisory Group to recommend strategies to end the scourge of these killer and debilitating diseases by 2020. India has made important gains in recent years. Measles deaths have declined by 51% from an estimated 100,000 in the year 2000 to 49 000 in 2015. This has been possible by significantly increasing the reach of the first dose of measles vaccine, given at the age of nine months under routine immunization programme, from 56% in 2000 to 87% in 2015. In 2010 India introduced the second dose of measles-containing vaccine in routine immunization programme to close the immunity gap and accelerate measles elimination. Nearly 11.8 crore children aged nine months to 10 years were vaccinated during mass measles vaccination campaigns between 2010 and 2013 in select states of the country. In 2015, the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization recommended introduction of rubella vaccine as combined measles-rubella vaccine, as a nation-wide campaign, covering children in the age group of 9 months to less than 15 years age group. The ongoing MR campaign in five states – Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Goa, Puducherry & Lakshadweep, to vaccinate 3.48 crore children, has till date, reached 1.16 crore children.