Written by Pavani Hapuarachchi
08 Jul, 2020 | 12:40 pm
COLOMBO (News 1st): Maldives and Sri Lanka were today verified for having eliminated rubella, making them the first two countries in WHO South-East Asia Region to achieve measles and rubella elimination ahead of the 2023 target, the World Health Organisation said on Wednesday (July 8).
“Protecting all children against these killer and debilitating diseases is an important step in our endeavor to achieve healthier population and health for all,” Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, the Regional Director for WHO South-East Asia Region said, congratulating the two countries on their achievement.
The announcement was made after the fifth meeting of the South-East Asia Regional Verification Commission for Measles and Rubella Elimination, that was held virtually.
The Commission comprises of 11 independent international experts in the fields of epidemiology, virology and public health.
A country is verified as having eliminated measles and rubella when there is no evidence of endemic transmission of the measles and rubella viruses for over three years in the presence of a well performing surveillance system.
“Maldives reported last endemic case of measles in 2009 and of rubella in October 2015, while Sri Lanka reported last endemic case of measles in May 2016 and of rubella in March 2017,” based on data from the World Health Organisation.
Member countries of WHO South-East Asia Region had in September last year set 2023 as target for elimination of measles and rubella, revising the goal of the flagship programme that since 2014 had focused on measles elimination and rubella control.
Bhutan, DPR Korea and Timor-Leste are other countries in the Region who have eliminated measles.
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