Measles Eradication & CRS Prevention In Armenia

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The Foundation’s routine measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccination program is now fully financed by the Armenian Ministry of Health (MOH).

  • Routine vaccination program targets all children aged 12 months and 6 years – approximately 70,000 children every year.
  • The Foundation was a major partner in mass immunization campaign against measles/rubella. Approximately 924,000 individuals ages 6 – 27 years vaccinated.
  • Both initiatives were part of strategy to eliminate measles/prevent congenital rubella syndrome in entire European region by the year 2010.
  • In January 2010 the Armenian government assumed full responsibility for financing the routine vaccination program against MMR.

2009 marked the fifth and final year of collaboration between the Rostropovich- Vishnevskaya- Foundation, the United Nation’s Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Armenian Ministry of Health (MOH)  to provide resources to vaccinate all one and six year-old children in Armenia – a total of approximately 70,000 children each year, against measles, mumps and rubella (MMR). Together RVF and UNICEF covered 100% of the annual national requirement for the MMR vaccine, each organization supplied 50% of the total required doses, while the MOH provided the human resources to implement the program. As of January 2010, the Armenian government began financing 100% of the annual procurement of the MMR vaccine.

In addition to the vaccine, the Foundation and UNICEF provided safe injection supplies in accordance with World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations, such as AD (auto-destruct) syringes and safety boxes for the proper disposal of used syringes. In 2010 the MOH assumed responsibility for financing the program.

Due to the breakdown of its routine immunization program for children in the years following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the population of Armenia was susceptible to large outbreaks against such vaccine-preventable diseases as measles and rubella. A robust routine immunization program against MMR for children was an essential step in preventing these serious infections throughout the country.

The vaccination program in Armenia was modeled after the Foundation’s similar children’s vaccination programs in Russia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia, with the ultimate aim of achieving sustainability by building capacity at the local level. The Foundation strictly avoids creating parallel structures. Thus, under an agreement between the Foundation and the MOH of Armenia, the vaccination program in Armenia was carried out entirely by local public health personnel. Local Foundation representatives monitored the implementation of the program through regular site visits to vaccination venues and vaccine storage facilities throughout the country and by reviewing monthly vaccination coverage reports submitted by the MOH.

The Foundation’s material contribution to the program was made possible by a grant from the United States Department of State and a donation from the Canadian Charities: Canadian Physicians for Aid and Relief, the Escarpment Biosphere Foundation, and Universal Aide Society, made possible by Meoroth of Canada, and CK Fund of Toronto, Canada with support from the Alberta Distribution Relief Agency – Adventist Society International, the Living Waters Ministry, and Phoenix Community Works Foundation.

Mass Immunization Campaign

To accelerate the epidemiologic impact of the routine MMR program in Armenia, the Foundation partnered with the Armenian MOH, WHO, UNICEF and the Ani & Narod Memorial Fund (ANMF) to conduct a mass immunization campaign against measles and rubella throughout the country in October 2007. Approximately 924,000 individuals between the ages of 6 – 27 years were vaccinated over a period of 3 – 4 weeks. . Following the completion of the mass immunization campaign, the ongoing routine MMR program continues to protect the population from measles and CRS.