Russian Federation supports measles and rubella elimination

The Government of the Russian Federation has allocated 329.5 million roubles (approximately 9.5 million US dollars) for 2014 and 2015 to support the World Health Organization’s efforts to eliminate measles and rubella in the European Region. The directive allocating the funds, which was signed by the Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev in Moscow in April 2014, states that 94.5 million roubles should finance the costs associated with providing logistical support to laboratories that handle measles diagnosis in the Commonwealth of Independent States. 

The remainder is to fund the Public Health Institution Rospotrebnadzor to monitor measles and rubella, perform genotyping, deliver virological specimens and sera, improve the methodological framework and other relevant activities.

Responsible investment and cooperation

Dr Guenael Rodier, Director of the Division of Communicable Diseases, Health Security and Environment, of WHO/Europe, said: “The Russian Federation’s commitment to measles and rubella elimination is gratifying and most welcome. We have seen a substantial increase in cases in the Region over the last 5 years with negative consequences for public health. However, with responsible investment and cooperation, as demonstrated by the Russian Federation in this instance, these diseases can be overcome. Significant improvement of surveillance system by supporting laboratory infrastructure is particularly welcome as a reliable, efficient laboratory network is a key element of good public health.”

Resurgence of measles and rubella

Many of the cases of measles and rubella cases in the European Region in the last 5 years have occurred in Member States that had previously brought these diseases under control. Between 2007 and 2013, measles cases alone increased by 348% from 7 073 to 31 685. The Russian Federation reported 2590 cases in the first quarter of 2014. Just under half of these were adults over 20 years of age.