Maldives conferred the Public Health Achievement Award from WHO South East Asia Regional Director Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh for the successful control of Rubella and Congenital Rubella Syndrome (CRS)
4th September 2018 – The 71st Regional Committee for WHO South East Asia is taking place in New Delhi, India from 3-7th September 2018. Maldives received the honor of being conferred the Public Health Achievement Award for the successful control of Rubella and Congenital Rubella Syndrome (CRS), two years ahead of regional target of 2020. This award was conferred by the Regional Director for WHO South East Asia, Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh. Ms Khadheeja Abdul Samad, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health Maldives received the award on behalf of the Government and people of Maldives. A publication titled “Towards the Rubella-free Dream” was also launched to mark this momentous occasion, which details out Maldives journey towards the control of Rubella.
“It is with immense pleasure that I congratulate the Republic of Maldives for having met the goal of controlling rubella and congenital rubella syndrome two years ahead of the 2020 target set at the Sixty-sixth session of the Regional Committee in 2013.” quotes Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director for WHO South East Asia. Given the dispersed nature of the population and the geographic challenges to the Maldives, this achievement is truly commendable. Top inspirational leadership and their vision successfully led the campaign to control indigenous rubella combined with the efforts of countless health workers and the cooperation of many ordinary citizens, has transformed the Maldives’ disease burden.
The rubella virus has been contained and the people of Maldives can live comfortably in the knowledge that the next generation is safe from congenital rubella syndrome. But constant vigilance is required to immediately respond to ensure that the virus does not reappear.
Despite this remarkable success, the Government of the Republic of Maldives is determined to maintain a high coverage of vaccination and to strengthen surveillance through periodic training of health-care workers and increased and better participation of the private sector.
“Prevention of disease is wealth. We will continue to invest in strengthening and expanding the immunization programme, including introduction of new vaccines.” said the Honorable Minister of Health, His Excellency Mr Abdulla Nazim Ibrahim. We have seen results; smallpox has been eradicated, the country is polio-free, maternal and neonatal tetanus and measles have been eliminated and now Rubella is controlled. TB will be our next target for elimination”.
As WHO, we look forward to continued collaboration with the Maldives as we continue to work towards the elimination of other vaccine-preventable diseases and continue to advance health and wellbeing for all.