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Sri Lanka and Maldives eliminate rubella and measles before 2023

Sri Lanka and Maldives eliminate rubella and measles before 2023

Sri Lanka and the Maldives have become the first two countries in the South-East Asia region that have eradicated both rubella and measles before the set target of 2023.

Key Points:

  • Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director of WHO South-East Asia, made the announcement after the regional verification commission for rubella and measles met virtually and held their meeting for the fifth time.
  • The achievement takes significance as the protection of children from measles and rubella is an important step to achieve a healthy population.
  • Sri Lanka and the Maldives have delivered vaccines to children during the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic that has proved highly beneficial for keeping the population safe.
  • The last endemic case of rubella was reported in 2015, whereas the last case of measles was observed in 2009 by the Maldives.
  • The last endemic case of rubella was reported in 2017, whereas the last case of measles was observed in 2016 by Sri Lanka.

Note:

  • A country is considered and verified as having eradicated rubella and measles when no cases of endemic transmission are observed by a well-performing surveillance system for more than three years.
  • The target set by the member countries of the WHO South-East Asia region for the eradication of rubella and measles is 2023.
  • Other nations that have eradicated the disease in the region are Timor-Leste, Bhutan and DPR Korea.

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