Over 10,000 laboratory-confirmed cases of measles and 40 deaths due to it among children have been reported in India till December 12 this year, Minister of State for Health Bharati Pravin Pawar told the Lok Sabha on Friday. Maharashtra has reported 3,075 cases and 13 deaths followed by Jharkhand with 2,683 cases and eight deaths. An upsurge in cases of measles has been reported during November 2022, Pawar said in a written reply. The number of confirmed cases stands at 10,416, she said.
Taking note of the upsurge of cases from certain districts and cities of Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Gujarat and Kerala, the Union Ministry of Health deployed multi-disciplinary central teams comprising public health specialists, paediatricians and microbiologists to assess the situation and provide technical support to the states, Pawar said.
The central teams deployed noted the need for further strengthening disease surveillance activities, ramping up immunisation with measles-containing vaccines, managing vaccine hesitancy through intensive community awareness to cover all unimmunised children, improving case management through timely detection, referral and clinical management of cases etc, she said. The findings of the central teams along with their recommendations were also formally conveyed to these states to take necessary action to manage the upsurge of the cases in the community, Pawar said.
The Union Ministry of Health has coordinated with states and UTs to assist in the management of these cases. The Government of India provides financial assistance to states to improve their health infrastructure besides providing greater flexibility to states through a flexible pool of funds under National Health Mission (NHM) which can be utilised as per need and field-based priorities.
Listing the additional measures prioritised by the Union Ministry of Health in coordination with states to eliminate Measles and Rubella by 2023, Pawar said a roadmap on this has been prepared and distributed to the states and UTs across India. The roadmap serves as a guidance tool for planning and the elimination activities including strengthening Measles and Rubella vaccine coverage and surveillance.
Specific advisories have been issued to Maharashtra, Haryana and Jharkhand regarding key actions to be taken following outbreaks as a part of outbreak response and a National workshop has been conducted for apprising the states and UT officers regarding MR elimination, Pawar said.