The Measles Rubella (MR) vaccination campaign has been launched by the Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare on 5th February at Bengaluru, Karnataka, for healthy India.
The campaign is largest campaign launched in the country against the diseases measles and rubella. The campaign will initially cover five states/union territories including Goa, Karnataka, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu, and Lakshadweep, covering around 3.6 crore children.
MR Vaccination Campaign: Key Facts
1. It is the largest ever vaccination campaign, which will target about 41 crore children against measles and rubella across the nation.
2. Under this campaign all children between the ages of 9 months to less than 15 years will be given free-of-cost single shot of the MR vaccination irrespective of their prior disease or vaccination status.
3. The vaccine for measles has been provided under the Universal Immunization Programme (UIP). Vaccine for rubella is an addition the running programme.
4. MR vaccine will be brought in routine immunization after the completion of the campaign. It will replace already running measles vaccine, which is given to children of 9-12 months and 16-24 months of age.
5. Immunization of measles will directly contribute in reducing under-five child mortality and the combination of rubella vaccine to it will help control rubella. This combination of vaccine will help prevent CRS (congenital rubella syndrome) in population of the nation.
Brief Information on Measles and Rubella
Measles is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus. It causes cough, red eyes, runny nose, rashes on body, red spots on skin. It starts at the head, with fever and spreads to the entire body. It is one of the biggest causes of death in small children, by making him/her vulnerable to life threatening complications like brain infection, pneumonia, and diarrhoea.
Unlike Measles, Rubella is a mild infection that comes with serious consequences. It when occurs in pregnant women causes congenital rubella syndrome, which is characterized by congenital anomalies in the foetus and newborns causing heart defects, hearing loss, eyes defects like glaucoma and cataract, microcephaly or mental retardation.
According to a 2010 global estimation, nearly 1,03,000 children were born with CRS, of which about 46% were from South-East Asia Region. It was also observed that in the year 2015, measles killed around 1, 34,200 children globally, mostly under the age of five years. And in India it killed about 49,200 children.