World Health Organization (WHO) presented an award for successfully eradicating measles from Maldives on Thursday.
The award was handed over to the Minister of Health, Abdulla Nazim Ibrahim by the WHO’s Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and WHO’s South-East Asia Region’s Regional Director Dr. Poonam Khetrapal Singh during the Seventieth Session of the regional committee for South-East Asia being held at paradise island resort from 6th to 10th September 2017.
WHO declared the Maldives free of Maldives on June 13th this year along with Bhutan, making the two countries the first to achieve the target of eradicating measles before the year 2020.
Maldives has carried out several campaigns and taken numerous preventive measures in order to eradicate measles throughout the past years. Vaccination against measles was first carried out in the year 1983. More campaigns and awareness programs were conducted between the year 2005 and 2007 which became a crucial part in eradicating measles from the Maldives. The last recorded case of measles was in the year 2009.
In February 2017, a Nation-wide vaccination campaign kicked off to finally conclude the fight against measles. This special campaign was inaugurated by the President of the Maldives Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom.
MMR (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella) vaccine was put on the vaccinating chart for the newborn and is made compulsory for every newborn to complete 2 doses of the vaccine as a precaution for the future.
Measles is a highly contagious airborne respiratory infection caused by the measles virus exhibiting symptoms like Symptoms include high fevers, coughing, sneezing, conjunctivitis (red eyes) and rashes. Measles can lead to diarrhea, pneumonia, bronchitis, acute brain inflammation and corneal ulceration which can lead to blindness. If left untreated, measles can be fatal.