What the measles outbreak in India reveals

Source: The post is based on the article “What the measles outbreak in India reveals” published in the Indian Express on 25th November 2022.

Syllabus: GS – 2 – Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health.

Relevance: About the recent Measles outbreak.

News: A measles outbreak in Mumbai has raised concerns amongst the country’s public health authorities. A rise in measles cases has also been reported from Ranchi, Ahmedabad and Malappuram. The outbreak highlighted a backslide in the performance of India’s universal immunisation programme during the pandemic.

What is Measles?
Read here: Measles and Rubella
Why there is a measles outbreak at present?

The measles outbreak has occurred at present because,

-According to the state government(Maharastra) data, only 41% of the eligible children have been inoculated against measles in Mumbai. This is because a) Parents are showing a disinclination to continue the inoculation regime for their children after they developed a fever on being administered the first jab, b) Early in the pandemic, the National Health Mission’s information system reported that at least 100,000 children missed their shots because of the restrictions on movement.

-The Centre’s Mission Indradhanush project has improved vaccine coverage and reduced delays between shots. But WHO and UNICEF studies have shown that immunisation programmes especially those focusing on DPT (diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus) and measles have taken a hit in low and mid-income countries, including India.

– Measles is a highly contagious disease. Experts had cautioned that even a 5% fall in the vaccination rate can disrupt herd immunity and precipitate an outbreak.

What should be done to contain the measles outbreak?

Implement Centre’s request: The Centre asked States to consider administering an extra dose of vaccines to children, aged five to nine, in vulnerable areas. This should be done immediately.

Look beyond emergency measures: India has to look beyond emergency measures and provide a boost to the country’s public health services through more fund allocation.

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