The 2019 Measles & Rubella Initiative (M&RI) Partners’ Meeting was held on September 11th and 12th in Washington, DC. The meeting brought together over 100 participants from the 32 organizations representing partners and stakeholders in M&RI’s work. This year’s meeting focused on the situation and challenges related to the current global increase in measles cases and how the M&RI partnership and its supporters can better address issues related to future outbreaks.
The meeting was hosted by the American Red Cross at Red Cross National Headquarters in Washington, DC. Over the course of the two days experts from around the globe presented information and participated in discussions on the current global situation related to measles and rubella and discussed the challenges in reaching at-risk populations with lifesaving vaccines. Day one began with a panel discussion by the leadership from the five founding partners and Gavi. The panel members shared their perspectives, demonstrating and renewing their commitment to protecting children against measles and rubella. Other highlights of the day included a keynote address by Dr. Jeffrey Koplan looking back at his career within vaccination programs and some of the root causes of vaccine hesitation, country level experiences during recent outbreaks in Columbia, Madagascar, the Philippines, and the U.S., progress in the development of a rapid diagnostic test for measles, and the day finished with an overview of the current development of the M&RI’s strategic vision post 2020.
Highlights of Day two included an opening address by Dr. Julie Hall from the International Federation of the Red Cross/Red Crescent on support of outbreaks in complex settings. A presentation by Dr. Rik de Swart on his research of measles induced immuno-amnesia. Panel discussions on communications needs and vaccine hesitancy and demand issues. An update on the development and timeline for the microneedle patch. The meeting concluded with a call to action stating that we must continue our efforts to prevent, identify, and conduct effective responses to outbreaks around the world in order to one day achieve a world without measles, rubella, and congenital rubella syndrome.
As part of the agenda awards were presented recognizing outstanding achievements by individuals and groups for their work in measles and rubella vaccination programs. Dr. Alan Hinman received the 2019 lifetime achievement award for his many contributions and tireless work within the global vaccination field. In addition Measles and Rubella Champion Awards were presented to five recipients: the Columbia Ministry of Health and Social Protection, the Madagascar Ministry of Health, Dr. Pradeep Haldar from the India Ministry of Health, the Philippines Red Cross, and the Global Rubella and Measles Lab Network. Each awardee was recognized for their significant contributions in preventing, identifying, or implementing outbreak responses.
We would like to thank all of the participants for contributing to a successful meeting and helping to ensure that children around the world are protected from vaccine preventable diseases.
Presentations from the 2019 Measles & Rubella Initiative Partners Meeting can be found here.