Measles is a highly infectious acute viral disease for which no specific treatment is available. It is a leading cause of childhood mortality among the vaccine preventable diseases in India. Measles spreads through respiratory route via aerosol droplets from infected persons. Usual symptoms that appear after 10–12 days of infection includes high fever and skin rashes along with cough, runny nose and red eyes. Most people recover within 2-3 weeks. However, measles can cause serious complications like ear infection, blindness, encephalitis, diarrhea, pneumonia and death due to these complications.
India accounts for a significant proportion of measles related deaths in the world. Measles can be prevented by vaccination with a safe and effective vaccine provided free of cost to each child under the universal immunization program across the country.
India has set a goal of measles elimination and rubella/CRS (Congenital Rubella Syndrome) control by 2020. To achieve this goal, the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI) recommended the introduction of measles-rubella vaccine in routine immunization programme, following a wide age range MR vaccination campaign targeting children form 9 month to less than 15 years of age across all states. MR vaccine will replace two doses of measles vaccine in routine immunization, given at 9-12 months and 16-24 months of age in the national immunization schedule.
Within the Strategic framework of measles elimination in the country, WHO Country Office for India (WCO-India) provides technical support to the government for sustaining and strengthening of laboratory-based sensitive measles-rubella surveillance and for implementing high quality MR vaccination campaign followed by MR vaccine introduction in the universal immunization programme.
The WCO-India strategic support also includes, development of guidelines, facilitation of training workshops, monitoring of MR campaign for assessing coverage and quality of vaccination services.