Top brass of the UNICEF-Jharkhand and Government of Jharkhand jointly announced their plan to launch the Measles Rubella (MR) vaccine in Jharkhand.
This was announced in a press conference organized by the Department of Health & Family Welfare, GoJ and UNICEF in Suchana Bhawan in Ranchi on Monday.
UNICF Child Reporter Surbhi Lohra, 14 years, from Government Middle School in Pirra, Kamke Ranchi. She is one of the school children who have benefited from the MR knowledge sessions being organized across the state in both government and private schools as part of the MR communication plan. She said, “In Jharkhand, the MR vaccine will be launched on 26 July and I urge all children and parents to support this campaign and make it a grand success.”
Ms Nidhi Khare, Principal Secretary, Health department says, “India is committed to eliminating measles and to control rubella and congenital rubella syndrome (CRS) by 2020.The Measles-Rubella (MR) vaccination campaign of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India is one of the biggest campaigns under Universal Immunization Programme (UIP) covering about 41 crore children in the age group of 9 months to less than 15 years across the country. The Measles Rubella vaccine will be administered in government and private schools, health facilities and outreach sites and will cover over 1.17 crore children in the age group of 9 months to 15 years in Jharkhand. Following the campaign, the combined MR vaccine will be available under routine immunization, replacing the earlier administrated two doses of measles vaccine.”
Dr. Madhulika Jonathan, Chief of UNICEF Jharkhand says, “UNICEF is working with the Government of Jharkhand and other partners to support the Measles Rubella (MR) campaign. UNICEF has supported the communication planning for the MR campaign from the block to the district level. Advocacy with influencers, religious leaders, PRI members, schools both government and private through the parent-teacher meetings are an integral part of this campaign. Support of NCC Ranchi and Radio City (Private FM Station) has been taken to increase public awareness about the vaccine.”
Other organizations are also providing their support to the campaign. World Health organization (WHO) is supporting the preparation of micro plans and capacity building of health workers while UNDP is responsible for vaccine logistics and its availability at the cold chain points. Lions Club has organized parent-teacher meetings in school, displayed IEC material at strategic places and organized rallies, etc.
The programme was attended by Dr Bina Sinha, Deputy Director, Department of Health & Family Welfare; Dr. Ajit Prasad, Medical officer, Child Health Cell, Department of Health & Family Welfare; Dr K Arun from WHO; Mr. Sanjeev Poddar from Lions Club; UNICEF and WHO officials.
What is Measles?
Measles is one of the leading causes of death among children under 5 years. As per WHO estimates, measles killed nearly 49,200 children in 2015 in the country, contributing nearly 36% to the global figures.It is a highly contagious disease, caused by a virus and spreads through coughing and sneezing of an infected person. Measles is commonly recognizable as a visible red rash with high fever, cough, runny nose and red eyes. Children who do not have sufficient immunity contract the disease, if exposed. Measles can make a child vulnerable to life-threatening complications such as pneumonia, diarrhoea and brain infection.
What is Rubella?
Rubella is a mild viral illness but can lead to serious consequences if infected during pregnancy. Rubella infection during early pregnancy can lead to abortion, miscarriage, stillbirth, and set of congenital anomalies in the foetus and newborns known as Congenital Rubella Syndrome (CRS). CRS is characterized by multiple defects, particularly affecting the eyes (glaucoma, cataract), ears (hearing loss), brain (microcephaly, mental retardation) and heart defects, many of which require costly therapy, surgeries and other expensive care.
Five Facts about the Measles - Rubella (MR) Campaign
1. It costs less than Rs. 50 to vaccinate a child against measles and rubella.
2. A single shot of the vaccine is being given to the target children during the campaign through session sites at both government and private schools, health facilities and outreach sites
3. The MR vaccine is provided free of cost, and is given to all target age group children, irrespective of their previous measles/rubella vaccination or measles/rubella disease status.
4. The MR vaccine under the current campaign is produced in India and has been licensed by the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization, India
5. The campaign aims to rapidly build up population immunity by reaching out to 100% target children with MR vaccine, knocking out the disease from the susceptible group of children and, thereby, reducing the morbidity and mortality associated with measles and the CRS burden.
Adverse Effects Following Immunization (AEFI)
Measles & Rubella vaccine is an extremely safe vaccine. But like all other medicines including vaccines, there may be some mild transient adverse effect like local redness, fever & rashes may be observed post vaccination which is normal and can be easily managed with no long-term complication