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Measles raises its head again: Health Ministry all out to eradicate it

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Dr. Palitha Mahipala

By Rathindra Kuruwita

Health Secretary Dr. Palitha Mahipala said on Thursday that over 700 cases of measles had been reported since May 2023, mostly from the Colombo District.Gampaha, Kalutara, Galle, Matara, Kandy, Jaffna, Kurunegala, and Ampara were among the districts affected by the spread of measles, Dr. Maheepala said.

In 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Sri Lanka had successfully eradicated measles with the help of a successful vaccination campaign.The Health Ministry has initiated an immunisation campaign in the districts where the measles cases had been reported, Dr. Maheepala said.

“We have reached out to WHO experts in South Asia for advice. We also took advice from the national advisory committee on immunisation. We have decided to give an extra dose of the Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) Vaccination to infants between six and eight months in the the districts where measles cases have been reported,” he said.

Moreover, children aged between nine months to 15 years who have not received the MMR Vaccination could get vaccinated from 06 January 2024, Dr. Mahipala said.

The Health Ministry would establish 1,600 clinics across the country for vaccinating children, Dr. Mahipala said.Dr. Mahipala said due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the immunisation coverage had suffered a setback and that may have led to re-emergence of measles.


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