Progress Toward Measles Elimination - Eastern Mediterranean Region, 2013-2019

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2020 Apr 17;69(15):439-445. doi: 10.15585/mmwr.mm6915a2.


In 1997, during the 41st session of the Regional Committee for the Eastern Mediterranean, the 21 countries in the World Health Organization (WHO) Eastern Mediterranean Region* (EMR) passed a resolution to eliminate measles (1). In 2015, this goal was included as a priority in the Eastern Mediterranean Vaccine Action Plan 2016-2020 (EMVAP) (2), endorsed at the 62nd session of the Regional Committee (3). To achieve this goal, the WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean developed a four-pronged strategy: 1) achieve ≥95% vaccination coverage with the first dose of measles-containing vaccine (MCV1) among children in every district of each country through routine immunization services; 2) achieve ≥95% vaccination coverage with a second MCV dose (MCV2) in every district of each country either through implementation of a routine 2-dose vaccination schedule or through supplementary immunization activities§ (SIAs); 3) conduct high-quality, case-based surveillance in all countries; and 4) provide optimal measles clinical case management, including dietary supplementation with vitamin A (4). This report describes progress toward measles elimination in EMR during 2013-2019 and updates a previous report (5). Estimated MCV1 coverage increased from 79% in 2013 to 82% in 2018. MCV2 coverage increased from 59% in 2013 to 74% in 2018. In addition, during 2013-2019, approximately 326.4 million children received MCV during SIAs. Reported confirmed measles incidence increased from 33.5 per 1 million persons in 2013 to 91.2 in 2018, with large outbreaks occurring in Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen; incidence decreased to 23.3 in 2019. In 2019, the rate of discarded nonmeasles cases was 5.4 per 100,000 population. To achieve measles elimination in the EMR, increased visibility of efforts to achieve the measles elimination goal is critically needed, as are sustained and predictable investments to increase MCV1 and MCV2 coverage, conduct high-quality SIAs, and reach populations at risk for not accessing immunization services or living in areas with civil strife.

MeSH terms

  • Africa, Northern / epidemiology
  • Disease Eradication*
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Immunization Programs
  • Incidence
  • Measles / epidemiology
  • Measles / prevention & control*
  • Measles Vaccine / administration & dosage
  • Middle East / epidemiology
  • Population Surveillance*


  • Measles Vaccine