India helps Maldives tackle measles outbreak

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Topics Covered: India and it’s neighbours.

India helps Maldives tackle measles outbreak

What to study?

For prelims and mains: Measles- causes, symptoms, spread and vaccines.

Context: India has stepped in to help the Maldives tackle a recent outbreak of measles. The Indian Embassy in Male recently handed over 30,000 doses of measles and rubella (MR) vaccine to the Maldivian Health Ministry.

The outbreak comes less than three years after the World Health Organisation declared the Maldives measles-free.

Background:

The Indian government’s initiative comes even as the two countries implement the Memorandum of Understanding on Health cooperation — signed during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Male in June 2019.

Secretary-level delegations met in Male early January to draw a roadmap for cooperation, in capacity building and training of doctors and medical professionals, disease surveillance, training of mental health professionals, setting up of digital health capacities in Maldives.

About Measles:

What is It? Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It remains an important cause of death among young children globally, despite the availability of a safe and effective vaccine.

Spread: Measles is transmitted via droplets from the nose, mouth or throat of infected persons.

Initial symptoms, which usually appear 10–12 days after infection, include high fever, a runny nose, bloodshot eyes, and tiny white spots on the inside of the mouth. Several days later, a rash develops, starting on the face and upper neck and gradually spreading downwards.

Vulnerability: Severe measles is more likely among poorly nourished young children, especially those with insufficient vitamin A, or whose immune systems have been weakened by HIV/AIDS or other diseases.

The most serious complications include blindness, encephalitis (an infection that causes brain swelling), severe diarrhoea and related dehydration, and severe respiratory infections such as pneumonia.

Prevention: Routine measles vaccination for children, combined with mass immunization campaigns in countries with low routine coverage, are key public health strategies to reduce global measles deaths.

Preventive efforts:

Under the Global Vaccine Action Plan, measles and rubella are targeted for elimination in five WHO Regions by 2020. WHO is the lead technical agency responsible for coordination of immunization and surveillance activities supporting all countries to achieve this goal.

What is Rubella?

Also called German Measles, Rubella is a contagious, generally mild viral infection that occurs most often in children and young adults.

Sources: the Hindu.