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National Verification Committee for Measles and Rubella elimination in Germany

Members of the National Verification Committee for Measles and Rubella elimination in Germany. Source: © RKI

Since 1984 the World Health Organization (WHO) European Region pursues the goal to eliminate measles. In 2005, it was decided to stop also endemic transmission of rubella-virus, thereby eliminating congenital rubella syndrome. Both infections should have been eliminated by 2015. The German Action Plan for the Elimination of Measles and Rubella 2015–2020, which was released by the federal states and the German Federal Ministry of Health (BMG) in 2015, stipulates targets to be met by 2020 to attain the elimination goal.

WHO Euro requested from their member states the establishment of national verification committees (NVCs) to assess the progress towards elimination in a standardized way, to prepare and submit an annual report to WHO as a documentation of the elimination status and related activities in the country, and to verify the elimination of measles and rubella at country-level once achieved.

In December 2012, BMG established the German NVC for measles and rubella elimination. The committee consists of honorary, independent experts from the fields of applied infectious disease epidemiology and health sciences, public health services, paediatrics and occupational health as well as virology and behavioural sciences. Additionally, representatives of BMG, the Robert Koch Institute, the Federal Centre for Health Education and a deputy of the supreme state health authorities participate regularly as permanent guests at the meetings. The executive secretariat of the NVC is hosted by the Immunisation unit of the Robert Koch Institute. The secretariat is responsible for organizational matters and the scientific prearrangement of the meetings as well as for the maintenance of a database with relevant indicators and the preparation of a draft annual report to be submitted to WHO.

The committee meets at least twice a year to compile and analyse information concerning the epidemiology of measles and rubella in Germany and data on vaccination coverage and the immunity of the German population against measles and rubella in order to assess the progress achieved with regard to elimination goals. Furthermore, the committee evaluates if the available data are sufficient or contain inconsistencies, assesses the quality of surveillance, evaluates the success of implemented key strategies, and advises on activities related to the verification of the elimination process in the country.

Annual scientific reports on the committee’s findings have been submitted to the WHO regional office as well as to BMG for 2010 until 2014 and are available on the committee’s website.

Date: 14.06.2016