India gets ‘Measles & Rubella Champion’ award for disease prevention

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New Delhi, March 8 (IANS) India has bagged the prestigious ‘Measles and Rubella Champion’ award for the country’s efforts in preventing the highly infectious and contagious diseases.

India’s Deputy Ambassador to the US, Sripriya Ranganathan, received the award from the Measles and Rubella Partnership at the American Red Cross Headquarters in Washington DC, US, on behalf of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, on Wednesday.

“India has provided inspiration to regional #measles and #rubella elimination programmes, tracing measles outbreaks to strengthen routine #immunisation across the country. Thank you to our M&RP champions! #MRPartnership,” the agency wrote in a post on X.

The Union Health Ministry said that Measles and Rubella Partnership comprises a multi-agency planning committee, including the American Red Cross, BMGF, GAVI, US CDC, UNF, UNICEF, and WHO, all dedicated to reducing global measles deaths and preventing rubella illness.

“This accolade celebrates India’s unwavering commitment to public health and its outstanding leadership in curbing the spread of these infectious diseases among children. It further recognises India for providing regional leadership to the measles & rubella elimination programme by using ‘measles as a tracer’ to strengthen routine immunisation under the country’s Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP),” the ministry said in a statement.

“Despite facing numerous challenges, India has demonstrated remarkable progress in reducing measles and rubella cases and preventing outbreaks through a series of comprehensive interventions,” it added.

Measles is a highly contagious viral illness that spreads easily when an infected person breathes, coughs or sneezes, according to the WHO, and “can cause severe disease, complications, and even death”.

Rubella is also a contagious disease caused by a virus. Most people who get rubella usually have a mild illness, with symptoms that can include a low-grade fever, sore throat, and a rash that starts on the face and spreads to the rest of the body.

The diseases are preventable by vaccines, and MR Vaccine is part of India’s Universal Immunisation Programme since 2017.

The health ministry also congratulated the frontline health workers, healthcare professionals, policymakers, and communities for their “dedication and hard work”.

The ministry said the efforts “resulted in 50 districts consistently not witnessing any measles case while 226 districts have not reported rubella cases over the past 12 months”.



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