Members of the International Expert Committee (IEC) for Measles and Rubella Elimination in the Americas, exter-nal experts from other agencies, and the Pan American Health Organization’s (PAHO) regional advisor for measles and rubella visited Argentina, Colombia, and Haiti to conclude the process of documenting and verifying the elimina-tion of endemic measles, rubella and congenital rubella syndrome (CRS) in the Region. The main objective of the visits was for the IEC to independently evaluate if the interruption of measles and rubella endemic transmission has been achieved in each country, recommend necessary revisions, and provide suggestions on additional measures for overcoming the remaining barriers in maintaining the interruption of measles and rubella transmission.
The countries were selected based on the challenges they reported during the documentation process. The last of the four missions planned will be conducted in Ecuador at the beginning of 2013 after the country has finished its elimination report. The visits consisted of revisions of existing data, discussions with government officials, national commissions, and visits to national laboratories and areas that have reported cases or particular challenges in epide-miological surveillance or in achieving high vaccination coverage during the past three years.
The IEC has expressed confidence in their regional report, stating that if managerial, and technical issues identified can be addressed, "elimination can be maintained".
The IEC oversees the verification process of measles, rubella and CRS elimination. It has also received and reviewed national and regional reports and issued a report to the Pan American Sanitary Conference to verify that the circu-lation of wild viruses has been interrupted regionally. A Resolution calling on countries to maintain elimination by addressing the gaps in their immunization programmes was adopted by the Pan American Sanitary Conference in September 2012 (see GIN September 2012).
Published in Global Immunization Newsletter, November 2012.