Measles is a viral disease which kills about a million people a year. Out of the million almost 90 % are children. In India the statistics is very alarming as almost 500 children die daily because of Measles infection. This is mostly due to non availability of the vaccines in most Indian states with the coverage ranging from 60-50 % in most states. All this data is available on the .
The new Measles eradication program is planning to do just that increasing the coverage of the vaccines to a 100%.
But unlike the Pulse polio campaign, which had heavy celebrity endorsement from the likes of Amitabh Bachchan the Measles eradication program has gotten off to a very sedate start.
Firstly there is no celebrity endorsement this time. Secondly unlike the Polio campaign there will be no door to door visits by volunteers. Instead there is an expectation on the part of the parents to take the children to the schools which will serve as primary eradication centers.
In an earlier piece I had asked for coupling of Primary care centers with schools to ensure better coverage of the population and utilization of the public infrastructure. Please read the article here
The failure or success of this program would depend on the motivation levels of the parents of the children which is a big challenge especially in those below poverty line.
The North Indian state of Haryana had taken a state wide initiative in late 2010 to eradicate measles. It had launched a special team of 400 volunteers to cover all the districts of the state. The success of this campaign is also yet to be assessed.
India lags even neighbors like Bangladesh and Sri Lanka on Measles eradication programs. In the coming months I will be doing an analysis of this programs to get some idea on the outcomes.