Sultanate declared free of rubella and measles

MUSCAT: The Regional Verification Commission of the World Health Organization (WHO) for Measles and Rubella Elimination (RVC) in the Eastern Mediterranean Region has declared that measles and rubella have been eliminated from both Oman and Bahrain. It also declared that Iran has eliminated rubella and is about to eliminate measles. The RVC met in Amman, Jordan, on May 15-16 to review the reports submitted by Bahrain, Iran and Oman, and decide on the status of elimination of measles and rubella in the three countries. The commission’s decision was based on a review of the reports and discussions with the representatives from the three countries during the meeting.
Dr Ahmed al Mandhari, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean, congratulated Oman, Bahrain and Iran for their achievement.
“We acknowledge the efforts exerted by the health sector in the three countries that have led to the achievement of this goal and the elimination of these serious diseases. This gives us great hope and confidence that all countries in the region can do the same and that we will be able to announce that the Eastern Mediterranean Region is a measles and rubella free region,” he said.
The RVC was nominated by the regional director in January 2018 to verify the elimination of the two diseases. Since then, national verification committees in 12 low incidence countries have been briefed on the documentation required for verification of the elimination of measles and rubella.
During the meeting in Amman, the RVC also announced a set of recommendations to the three countries. The commission recommended that Bahrain and Oman should maintain high quality of their national immunisation programmes and their surveillance systems. The commission also recommended that Iran should update and complete their measles outbreak summary table and implement further training for national laboratory staff on including distinct sequence ID information in their country report submitted to the RVC. The RVC encouraged all countries in the region to sustain their efforts for the elimination of measles and rubella. The commission also expressed appreciation for the efforts taken by the countries to prepare their national reports for verification of elimination, and encouraged them to continue this. — ONA