On 14-15 November 2012, members of the International Expert Committee (IEC) for documenting and verifying the elimination of measles, rubella and congenital rubella syndrome (CRS), visited Haiti. The president of the Na-tional Elimination Commission presented evidence supporting the interruption of the circulation of endemic mea-sles and rubella viruses in a technical meeting with the national authorities, external measles and rubella subject-matter experts and strategic immunization partners. Posters from the ten departments, which highlighted the country experience in implementing the campaign, were also presented.
Despite many challenges, Haiti was able to identify, collect and analyze the data supporting the elimination of mea-sles and rubella, following the key components outlined in the Regional Plan of Action for documenting and verify-ing the elimination of both diseases. The last endemic measles case in Haiti was reported in 2001, while the last endemic rubella case was detected in 2006. In 2012, the country implemented nationwide active case searches at the community and institutional level to demonstrate the absence of measles and rubella cases. Likewise, Haiti implemented retrospective CRS case searches in selected institutions for the period 2007-2012, resulting in zero confirmed cases.
To reduce the accumulation of persons susceptible to measles and rubella, in 2012, Haiti implemented mass vac-cination activities against measles, rubella and polio (See August GIN).
The IEC experts recommended making conservative assumptions regarding population immunity to develop a more realistic risk assessment. They also recommended strengthening the analysis of key evidence supporting the interruption of endemic measles and rubella virus circulation. Finally, the IEC experts urged national authorities to implement the planned activities in the short, medium and long-term crucial to sustaining disease elimination in the country.
Published in Global Immunization Newsletter, January 2013.