Bhutan and Maldives have eliminated measles, a highly infectious disease that kills 134,000 people, mostly children, worldwide each year.
The two countries have stopped measles virus transmission, with no indigenous case being reported in Maldives since 2009, and in Bhutan since 2012.
Measles killes 46,000 children in India, which has started a campaign to eliminate measles by 2020 by vaccinating all children ages 9 months to 15 years against the disease using the MR-VAC manufactured by the Serum Institute of India.
Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director of WHO South-East Asia said: “Both countries achieved and maintained high coverage of measles vaccination, despite geographical challenges. They also established strong laboratory-supported surveillance for measles and have conducted detailed case investigation and tracking, right up to the very last case.”
Nearly 107 million children were reached vaccinated worldwide between 2013 and 2016, which helped avert 620,000 measles deaths in 2016 alone.
WHO’s measles elimination and rubella-control strategy is based on four key approaches –95% vaccination coverage with two doses of measles and rubella vaccine through routine and supplementary immunisation; case-based surveillance; developing and maintaining an accredited measles and rubella laboratory network; and strengthening support for these strategies.