National MR campaign to start in 2006
3 million people to be immunized as part of the national programme to eliminate measles and rubella developed by the Ministry of Health of the Azerbaijan Republic, in close collaboration with the Vishnevskaya-Rostropovich Foundation, Center for Disease Control (USA), USAID, United Nation’s Children Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO)
BAKU, 14 July 2005 - Representatives of the Ministry of Health of Azerbaijan, the Vishnevskaya-Rostropovich Foundation, UNICEF and the WHO signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) today as a first step for the National Measles and Rubella immunization campaign which will be conducted in March 2006.
The campaign will cover about 3,042,000 people and will run for 2 weeks, starting March, 2006. Nationwide the campaign targets 7-23 age group and 23-29 age group in the capital, Baku.
The campaign is an important component of the overall measles elimination and congenital rubella infection prevention strategy in the country. Campaign will provide an opportunity to strengthen the routine immunization program and therefore requires very careful planning with particular attention to logistic and immunization safety practices.
Measles kills more children throughout the world than any other vaccine-preventable disease. Children who survive measles can still be affected by a range of permanent disabilities. Between 30 and 40 million children catch measles every year. In 2003, approximately 530,000 died from the disease, often from secondary complications related to pneumonia, diarrhea and malnutrition.
“Everyone deserves to be protected from preventable diseases like measles. Every child needs to get this vaccine. We need to intensify our efforts to reach measles elimination and this campaign is an important step in that direction,” said Hanaa Singer, UNICEF Representative.
“Measles, rubella and congenital rubella infection remain important causes of vaccine-preventable diseases among children and adolescents within the European Region of WHO. The initiative undertaken by the government of Azerbaijan is a major commitment, in line with the regional goal of measles and rubella elimination and in order to achieve this goal we have to vaccinate all susceptible individuals,” said Dr. Nedret Emiroglu, WHO.
The Ministry of Health will be playing the lead role and is responsible for the campaign planning, coordination and monitoring.
“Ministry of Health calls on all international organizations, NGOs, governmental organizations and media to join efforts for social mobilization of the population. The government of Azerbaijan will be mobilizing all relative state bodies for the successful implementation of the campaign,” said Dr. Ali Insanov, the Minister of Health.
UNICEF will provide technical support in planning, supply procurement, cold chain maintenance and social mobilization.
WHO will provide technical support in the planning and review of the different aspects of the campaign at national and district levels on safety immunization practices, vaccine coverage, surveillance, training, development of training materials and AEFI surveillance system.
Vishnevskaya-Rostropovich Foundation will provide technical support in planning, supply procurement, cold chain maintenance and communication.