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WHO South-East Asia's 'big six' nations deliberate ways to

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Press Trust of India New Delhi
Representatives of the 'big six' countries of the WHO South-East Asia Regional Office, including India, today shared their immunisation challenges and experiences, for accelerating efforts to eliminate measles and control rubella by 2020.

Nearly 4.8 million children miss measles vaccination every year in the south-east Asia region, including in the 'big six' countries -- Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal and Thailand, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said.

"Eliminating measles would avert half a million deaths, while controlling rubella and Congenital Rubella Syndrome would promote health of pregnant woman and infants," said Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, regional director of WHO (south-east Asia).

With a majority of children who missed immunisation being accounted for by the 'big six' countries, immunisation programme managers of these nations, along with their partners including WHO, are deliberating ways to eliminate measles and control rubella, the world health body stated.

While Bhutan and Maldives eliminated measles last year, the other countries in the region are carrying out large-scale immunisation drives to achieve it.

Nearly 38 million children are born in the region every year, of whom approximately 87 per cent receive the first dose of measles-containing vaccine.

"It means around 4.8 million children are deprived of the most basic protection against measles each year," WHO said.

Measles elimination and rubella control strategies include ensuring over 95 per cent coverage with two doses of the respective vaccines in each district through routine and supplementary immunisation activities, and developing and sustaining sensitive measles surveillance, it said.

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First Published: Jan 31 2018 | 10:30 PM IST

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