Laos' efforts to stop rubella and measles for good

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In November 2011, Laos is introducing rubella vaccine for the first time. During a two-phase campaign, Laos plans to immunise more than three million young people with the combined vaccine for measles and rubella ("MR" vaccine), offering protection against two preventable diseases.

16 November 2011


  • Rubella Laos 1
    The Measles Initiative/C. McNab/2011
    Students study mathematics at Kang village school in southern Laos while health workers set up a vaccination post outside their classroom in November 2011, part of a campaign to protect them from measles and rubella. By preventing death and disease, immunisation gives children the best possible start in life.
  • Rubella Laos 2
    The Measles Initiative/C. McNab/2011
    A young girl closes her eyes while receiving immunisation against measles and rubella at a village school in Pakse District, southern Laos, in November 2011. Introducing rubella vaccine into Laos, a month-long campaign will immunise three million youngsters aged between 9 months and 19 years from measles and rubella.
  • Rubella Laos 3
    The Measles Initiative/C. McNab/2011
    Girls approaching child bearing age must be reached with the MR vaccine, as rubella infection in pregnant women can cause severe birth disorders in newborns. These include heart disease, blindness and deafness. This girl receives her vaccine at Kang Village School in Pakse District, southern Laos.
  • Rubella Laos 4
    The Measles Initiative/C. McNab/2011
    Rubella vaccines are usually delivered in a combined measles-rubella vaccine, such as this one set for use in Laos during a national measles rubella campaign in November 2011. The Laos Government secured a donation of more than 3 million doses of the Measles and Rubella or "MR" vaccine for its nationwide campaign.
  • Rubella Laos 5
    The Measles Initiative/C. McNab/2011
    Rubella vaccines are usually delivered in a combined measles-rubella vaccine, such as this one set for use in Laos during a national measles rubella campaign in November 2011.
  • Rubella Laos 6
    The Measles Initiative/C. McNab/2011
    "A recent survey in Laos showed that 35% of girls aged 15-19 had no immunity against rubella", explains Dr. Phounphenjhack Kongxay, Lao's Deputy Manager of the national immunization program. "It was very important to add rubella vaccine to protect women and their newborns." Here Dr Kongxay immunizes a girl in Don Thalat school in the Champasack District of Southern Laos.
  • Rubella Laos 7
    The Measles Initiative/C. McNab/2011
    "When I heard we were introducing combined measles and rubella vaccine I was very happy," says Mrs Suphaphane, the immunisation programme manager for Pakse district in southern Laos. "I have seen the tragedy of congenital rubella syndrome and it is a relief we can now prevent it. With this MR vaccine, we can protect the people of Laos against two diseases with a single injection."
  • Rubella Laos 8
    The Measles Initiative/C. McNab/2011
    Dr. Phounphenjhack Kongxay, Lao's Deputy Manager of the national immunization programme and WHO's Rajesh Bhaskar check students’ fingers as they head home from school in Paksong District high on the Bolaven Plateau in November 2011.  Young people are marked with purple ink on their left pinky fingers following immunisation so that monitors can quickly tell if they have been reached by the campaign.
  • Rubella Laos 9
    The Measles Initiative/C. McNab/2011
    The Laos Ministry of Health is working to improve surveillance for rubella so that cases can be laboratory confirmed. Blood samples from people with fever and rash - the markers for both measles and rubella - are sent from the field for testing to the Laos National Center for Laboratory and Epidemiology in Laos' capital Vientiane.
  • Rubella Laos 10
    The Measles Initiative/C. McNab/2011
    A young woman receives immunisation against measles and rubella during an immunisation campaign in Laos, November 2011. The rubella virus can lead to miscarriage, still births, or birth defects when passed from mother to child during pregnancy. An estimated 90,000 birth defects, known collectively as congenital rubella syndrome (CRS), happen every year in the world’s poorest countries.
  • Rubella Laos 11
    The Measles Initiative/C. McNab/2011
    Laotian children pose for the camera in Laos, November 2011. The south-east Asian country conducted an immunisation campaign the same month to protect against measles and immunisation in November 2011.

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