A. Situation analysis
Description of the disaster
The measles epidemic in Tajikistan started in April 2017in Rudaki district, and gradually spread to the capital city of Dushanbe and the surrounding districts, as well as Khatlon oblast. In mid-April 2017, 263 registered cases of measles were reported, out of which 157 were laboratory confirmed. By 1 May, the number of notified and investigated cases rose from 263 to 345, with 246 patients (71 per cent) hospitalised. There were two child deaths registered over the course of the epidemic – one in Khatlon oblast and one in the Districts of Republican Subordination).
The group most affected by the epidemic were children between 1 and 9 years of age. This also corresponded to the cohort born after the last national measles and rubella (MR) immunisation campaign conducted in 2009. Normally, the immunisation centre of the Ministry of Health and Social Protection (MoHSP) carries out immunisation on an annual basis for approx. 97 per cent of this cohort. The remaining three per cent – including migrants, Roma and displaced people – however, tends to remain non-immunised.
In response to the outbreak, the MoHSP decided to conduct a nationwide MR vaccination campaign targeting children aged 1 to 9 years 15–26 May 2017 with the support of the Measles and Rubella Outbreak Response Initiative (MRI) Fund. The government of Tajikistan issued a decree on National Additional Immunisation Days in the country on 28 April. The MoHSP issued an internal order on immunisation accordingly.