Measles & Rubella Initiative annual report 2012
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Measles & Rubella Initiative annual report 2012

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    Global progress in the past decade against measles has been stunning. As more countries immunize more children, measles deaths have been reduced by 71 per cent—from an estimated 548,000 in 2000 to 158,000 in 2011. No single other health intervention has returned these mortality reduction results in such a short space of time. In 2012, countries had the opportunity to make even more progress through introduction of a second dose in routine immunization, high-quality nationwide campaigns and, critically, to further expand measles activities to include a rubella-containing vaccine.

    The year 2012 also saw continuing challenges, with stagnating routine immunization coverage in some countries, and large measles outbreaks in several, putting measles control and elimination goals in some regions at risk. More than 20 million infants did not receive measles vaccine in 2011. These children—the poorest, with poorer nutrition, weaker immune systems and least served by the health system—are the very children who need measles, rubella and other vaccines the most.

    The partners of The Measles & Rubella Initiative (M&RI) report annually on progress and challenges in measles control and elimination, but this annual report is different from previous years. In 2012 the Initiative launched a new Global Measles & Rubella Strategic Plan 2012-2020, which provides a new framework for reporting, including indicators for measles and, for the first time, rubella control and elimination. The Strategic Plan includes five strategies and four guiding principles. This report systematically describes progress and challenges in each of these areas.

    The report uses various data sources to measure progress. These include WHO surveillance data for measles and rubella, data summarized through the WHO/UNICEF Joint Reporting Form process from 2011, mortality estimates using a new model, data reported from 2012 supplementary immunization activities, reports from regions and countries, information from partners such as the GAVI Alliance, and research data. The Annual Report’s structure follows the structure of the Strategic Plan. The report first describes the global and regional measles and rubella control and elimination goals and milestones, and summarizes progress against the Strategic Plan indicators. The report then summarizes global and regional highlights and challenges in 2012. Following this, the report looks systematically at progress and challenges in each of the five strategic areas including population immunity, disease monitoring, outbreak preparedness and response, communication and engagement, and research and development. Next, it briefly examines progress in adherence to the guiding principles including country ownership and sustainability, routine immunization and health system strengthening, equity and linkages to other health interventions. Finally, the report makes conclusions about the actions required to bring the world closer to achieving the global measles and rubella goals, as reconfirmed in the Global Vaccine Action Plan adopted by 194 WHO Member States in May 2012.

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