By Brian Shaw
From 19-22 February 2013, Sabin Executive Vice-President Dr. Ciro de Quadros and Program Officer Brian Shaw participated in the SEARO Regional Consultation on Measles Elimination and Rubella/CRS Control, held in Kathmandu, Nepal. As a member of the Measles Rubella Initiative (MRI), Sabin is committed to the elimination of measles, rubella & congenital rubella syndrome (CRS).
We believe that pediatricians will be key advocates in the fight against measles and rubella. But, to be successful they must have the knowledge and tools to harness this opportunity to work with their governments, international agencies and the private sector to combat these deadly diseases (as stated in the 2012 IPA Call to Action).
So, together with the International Pediatric Association (IPA), another member of the MRI, Sabin sponsored the attendance of 43 pediatric society leaders from 24 countries around the region. During supplemental sessions at the Consultation these pediatricians discussed ways to raise the awareness level of the importance of rubella control and barriers to success in their own national programs. Each society furthermore presented three action items unique to their county they will target as priority to reach this goal.
The Consultation contained many important presentations including those to clarify globally agreed upon surveillance indicators, progress toward elimination goals and experiences in sustainable financing of national programs. As a conclusion, all member states reaffirmed the feasibility of Measles Elimination in the region by 2020. As countries will be using combination of either Measles/Rubella and/or Measles/Rubella/Mumps vaccines, it is expected that major progress will be achieved in the control of Rubella, which could also be eliminated by 2020. The Consultation’s conclusions will be submitted to the Regional Committee for consideration in hopes that the South East Region will become the latest and final region to formally adopt an elimination goal, possibly clearing the way for a worldwide elimination target date to be set by the World Health Assembly.
Sabin will continue to work closely with the International Pediatric Association and all partners in the Measles Rubella Initiative to advocate for and support the elimination of measles and rubella worldwide.