More than USD 800 million is needed to eradicate measles from India and four other countries in South East Asia by 2020 - the deadline for eliminating the highly contagious viral disease that kills an estimated 134,200 children worldwide annually, the WHO said today.
For an unhampered progress against the viral disease by the Word Health Organisation (WHO), a total of 400 million children in India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Timor Leste and Indonesia must receive the Measles Rubella (MR) vaccine by 2018, while 140 million should be reached by the end of 2017, said Pem Namgyal, Director for Family Health, Gender and Life Course, at the WHO's Regional Office for South East Asia.
The figures are much higher against 6.8 million children reached in 2016 and 18 million in 2015, he said, speaking at The Seventieth Regional Committee session of WHO Southeast Asia Region here.
"Nearly USD 800 million is required for the elimination of measles from SEA countries such as India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Timor Leste and Indonesia by 2020 - the targeted time decided by the experts," said Namgyal.
Observing that the WHO currently has only 30-40 per cent of the resources towards elimination of measles from the concerned countries, Namgyal said immunisation programmes in the region were reaching more than 32.2 million children as compared to around 27 million in 2005.
India's Health Secretary C K Mishra, representing the country at the meet, noted that initiatives have been taken by the government to ensure the deadline for eliminating measles is met.
"We are resolute about eliminating measles and we aim to do it by 2020. Special initiatives have been taken and the work is in progress," Mishra told