Intercountry meeting on updated verification process and requirements of measles and rubella elimination in the WHO European Region, in conjunction with meeting on strengthening measles and rubella laboratory network in the newly independent states

19–22 May 2015, St Petersburg, Russian Federation

The combined meetings on will bring together representatives of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Republic of Moldova, Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan to address the latest developments and changes to the verification process for measles and rubella elimination, and strengthen intercountry collaboration and coordination of elimination activities.

19–20 May will be dedicated to measles and rubella elimination in the WHO European Region and verification process requirements in the context of the latest status of measles and rubella elimination in the Region. 21–22 May, with a strictly laboratory-related agenda, will comprise the annual meeting on strengthening the European regional measles and rubella laboratory network in the newly independent states.

Background

In line with the 2010 Regional Committee resolution on Renewed commitment to elimination of measles and rubella and prevention of congenital rubella syndrome by 2015 and Sustained support for polio-free status in the WHO European Region (EUR/RC60/R12), WHO/Europe initiated the verification process of elimination of measles and rubella. This included the establishment of the Regional Verification Commission for Measles and Rubella Elimination (RVC), initiation of the process in Member States with establishment of the national verification committees (NVC) and development and implementation of relevant technical procedures and documents.

During its latest meeting, in November 2014, the RVC concluded that there is currently uneven progress in interrupting endemic transmission of measles and rubella across the Region as well as challenges at the national level that require urgent action. The importance of maintaining efforts to improve and strengthen the timeliness and quality of data reported by NVCs was highlighted, and the RVC identified a number of countries specifically experiencing challenges in reporting and/or data quality in 2014.

In response to the RVC findings, WHO/Europe initiated a series of meetings with Member States aiming to further strengthen their national verification activities. The first of these meetings was held on 24-25 March 2015, with European Union/European Economic Area Member States and was organized in close collaboration with and with support from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

Considering the important role of the measles and rubella reference laboratories in disease elimination and its verification, the Regional Office is merging this meeting with the annual meeting of the measles and rubella laboratory network in the newly independent states, to ensure complete and adequate updating on the verification process for all key technical experts from the 12 countries.

Aims of the meetings

The first two days of the combined meetings are intended to:

  • inform country representatives about the current status of measles and rubella elimination in the Region, presenting results from the third European Regional Verification Commission meeting (November 2014) with emphasis on countries present at the meeting;
  • review and discuss activities and new developments in the verification process, underlining the roles and responsibilities of the national verification committees;
  • review the updated measles and rubella reporting forms as well as the reporting for the national verification process for 2015, providing participants with technical support on how to prepare the annual status update and other supporting documents; 
  • provide participants with technical support in data reporting for the verification process. 

The main objectives of the European regional measles and rubella laboratory network meeting are to: 

  • review the performance of the network laboratories and discuss country experiences;
  • optimize the contribution of the reference laboratories to the verification process;
  • provide a training opportunity on WHO measles and rubella laboratory databases.