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Written by Talent KAS

Related Topic in KAS Prelims Syllabus: 

Science and Technology [Paper-II]: Public Health, Health Care


  • According to new estimates released by the WHO and the CDC on behalf of the Measles and Rubella Initiative, children under the age of five accounted for most of the 1,40,000 people who died from measles in 2018.

Measles and Rubella

  • Measles is a highly-contagious virus and spreads rapidly in unvaccinated children, causing symptoms from rash to blindness, pneumonia to death.
  • Rubella virus is the primary cause of congenital rubella syndrome leading to abortions and children born with birth defects of heart, eye and brain.
  • Both measles and rubella can be prevented by a highly-effective Measles-Rubella (MR) vaccine.

Measles-Rubella Campaign in India

  • India initiated one of the world’s largest Measles-Rubella Campaign to eliminate measles and control rubella in the country.
  • By November 2019, more than 324 million children and adolescent between 9 months to 15 years of age have been vaccinated with one dose of MR vaccine.


  • As per data released by WHO, Measles cases more than doubled in 2018 compared to 2017.
  • There were 3,53,236 reported cases in 2018 compared to the provisional reporting of over 4,13,000 cases by mid-November in 2019.
  • Together, this marks a three-fold increase compared with this same time in 2018.

Why there is an increase in Measles cases?

  • Poor vaccination coverage and large pockets of unvaccinated children have resulted in devastating measles outbreaks in many parts of the world.
  • This includes countries that had high coverage rates or had previously eliminated the disease.
  • Conflict, security or a breakdown in services are making it hard to reach children in remote or hard-to-reach areas.
  • In some cases, parents are not vaccinating their children due to complacency, mistrust or misinformation about vaccines.
  • More than an estimated 19 million children worldwide missed out on the first dose of the measles vaccine by their second birthday in 2018.
  • In 2018, only 86% of children globally received the first dose of measles vaccine, and fewer than 70% received the second recommended dose. This is lower than the 95% coverage needed to prevent outbreaks.

About M&RI

  • Measles & Rubella Initiative (M&RI) is led by the American Red Cross, the United Nations Foundation, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UNICEF and the World Health Organization.
  • It aims to reach the measles and rubella elimination goals of the Global Vaccine Action Plan by supporting countries to
      • raise coverage of measles, rubella and other vaccines
      • fund, plan, implement and monitor quality supplementary campaigns
      • investigate outbreaks and provide technical and financial support for effective outbreak response, propose and participate in solutions to strengthen immunization delivery
      • support a global laboratory network for measles and rubella
      • The Initiative is focused on supporting the goal of reducing global measles mortality by 95 percent by 2015; and eliminating measles and rubella in at least five of the six World Health Organization Regions by 2020.

[Source: The Hindu,]

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Talent KAS

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