Sri Lanka successfully eliminates measles: WHO
WHO recently announced that Sri Lanka has eliminated measles, an acute and highly contagious viral disease that primarily occurs among children, thereby making it only the fourth country in Southeast Asia to do so, following Bhutan, the Maldives and Timor-Leste.
Regional Director of the WHO South-East Asia Region Dr. Poonam Khetrapal Singh congratulated the island nation, stating: “Sri Lanka’s achievement comes at a time when measles cases are increasing globally. The country’s success demonstrates its commitment, and the determination of its health workforce and parents, to protect children against measles.”
“The risk of importations of measles virus from countries near and far will remain especially from those that have significant population movement with Sri Lanka. Further strengthening immunity of the vulnerable population, capacities to detect and readiness to respond to measles virus, both at the national and sub-national levels, would be the key to the country’s continued measles free status in the coming years,” she added.
The thorough verification and scrutiny carried out by an independent committee confirmed that Sri Lanka has halted the transmission of the indigenous measles virus – the last case of measles caused by an indigenous virus was reported in the country back in May 2016.
Sri Lanka has stated its commitment to the cause over the years and sought to ensure high vaccination coverage. Moreover, a communicable disease surveillance system is in place to monitor and curb such threats.