Measles Eradication & CRS Prevention In Azerbaijan

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

  • Routine vaccination program targeted all children aged 12 months to 6 years – approximately 150,000 children every year.
  • The Foundation was a major partner in mass immunization campaign against measles/rubella. Approximately 2.5 million individuals ages 6 – 27 years vaccinated.
  • Both initiatives were part of strategy to eliminate measles/prevent congenital rubella syndrome in entire European region.
  • In January 2009 the Azerbaijani government assumed full responsibility for financing the routine vaccination program against MMR.

The nationwide children’s vaccination program, funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), helped to protect children in Azerbaijan against three serious infections of childhood, measles, mumps and rubella, as well as a devastating congenital infection in newborns: congenital rubella syndrome. During the years of the nationwide program, from 2004 – 2008, the Foundation provided for the annual MMR immunization of all children in Azerbaijan aged 1 to 6 years. A total of 1.1 million children were vaccinated. Vaccine coverage rates reached the internationally accepted target of 95% in all districts of the country. In January 2009 the MOH assumed full responsibility for financing the program.

A defining characteristic of all Foundation programs is the strengthening of the existing health care infrastructure with the goal of achieving self-sustainability after the Foundation program came to an end. Therefore, Azeri health care workers were fully responsible for carrying out the program, including the administration of the vaccine, thereby avoiding the creation of parallel healthcare structures.

Mass Immunization Campaign

In March 2006 the Foundation, in cooperation with WHO, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and the Ministry of Health of Azerbaijan, launched a mass immunization campaign against measles and rubella (MR) in Azerbaijan. By the end of the campaign in December 2006 nearly 2.5 million children and young adults had been vaccinated against MR, thereby greatly accelerating the elimination of measles and prevention of congenital rubella syndrome in the country.