Myanmar Launches Its Largest Ever Vaccination Campaign, Reaching 17 Million Children

Photo courtesy of Measles & Rubella Initiative

19th January 2015, Nay Pyi Taw: The National Measles and Rubella (MR) vaccination campaign launched today in Nay Pyi Taw is the country’s largest ever public health intervention, aiming to reach more than 17 million children aged nine months to 15 years.

The campaign will cover nearly 65,000 villages and 45,000 schools through 12,000 vaccination teams and over two-phases (19 to 27 January and 19 to 28 February).

“Measles and Rubella remain a threat to the survival and development of children and women in Myanmar”, stated WHO Myanmar Representative, Jorge Mario Luna. WHO estimates also suggest that the highest Congenital Rubella Syndrome (CRS) burden globally is in South East Asia. “Investing in this combined vaccine will help accelerate national, regional and global progress in controlling this life-threatening disease”.

Over the past years, Myanmar has also experienced sporadic measles outbreaks especially in the hard-to-reach and conflict-affected areas such as Rakhine, Kachin, Shan and Chin states, due to the increased number of unprotected children.

“The campaign will protect children from debilitating and killer diseases that are easily preventable”, asserted UNICEF Representative to Myanmar, Bertrand Bainvel. “By joining forces in the nationwide campaign to reach all children in Myanmar regardless of their race, religion, or geographical location, government, non-state actors and civil society commit to put children above all other considerations and sources of division. They show it is possible to unite, and children are the catalysts”, he added.

Myanmar has committed to eliminate measles diseases and to control congenital rubella syndrome by the year 2020. As a result, the measles and rubella vaccines will become part of the Myanmar’s routine immunization strategy from May 2015 onwards, which before only included measles vaccines.

The MR immunization campaign is part of Myanmar’s commitment to the Measles & Rubella Initiative, a global partnership to ensure that children are protected against measles and are not born with disabilities resulting from congenital rubella syndrome (CRS). The Initiative is led by UNICEF, WHO, United Nations Foundation, American Red Cross, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For more information, please contact:

Mariana Palavra, Communications Specialist, Advocacy, Partnerships and Communication Section, UNICEF Myanmar,

Dr Vinod Bura, Medical Officer- Immunization, WHO Myanmar