Immunisation is the primary tool of defense against dreadful diseases.
About a million children die even before their fifth birthday. One of every four of these deaths is caused by Pneumonia and Diarrhoea. These two leading infections cause infant mortality worldwide, though many of them can be saved by interventions such as- Immunisation and access to treatment. Recently, India has taken measures to create better access to Interventions such as immunisation through schemes like ‘Mission Indradhanush’ and the introduction of new vaccines, including ‘Vaccine for pneumonia’ (PCV) and ‘Rotavirus vaccine’ [RVV]. Despite the progress, infectious diseases continue to contribute to a significant number of child mortality and morbidity in India.
Infectious diseases have caused around 1.36 million deaths in children under five in 2016 [in India]. In terms of immunisation coverage, however, there is much room for improvement as the full immunisation coverage of universally introduced vaccines remains below target levels as of recent reports. The challenges, however, remain in terms of availability of the vaccines, capacity building, and training of healthcare providers.
The Overall Framework
India has made significant progress in improving health indicators related to infant and children’s health. India’s pledge in improving access to vaccines has been an essential intervention in decreasing child mortality and morbidity.
‘The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare’ provides different vaccines to infants, children, and pregnant women, making vaccines available free of cost to over 27 million children.
Some phases of “Mission Indradhanush” have been conducted till August 2017, providing vaccination to more than three crore children and 68 lakh pregnant women. To further boost the programme, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched what’s called the “Intensified Mission Indradhanush” (IMI) in ‘October 2017’. Through the IMI programme, the government aims to reach every child up to two years of age and pregnant women who are not covered under the routine immunisation programme. This programme provides a defense against 12 vaccine-preventable diseases.
India’s progress in reducing disease burden and increasing coverage of critical interventions–
There is adequate evidence that India has made progress in improving access to public health in the last three decades. Mitigating poverty has been crucial in reducing disease burden. Children with already weak immune systems are very vulnerable to pneumonia and diarrhoea, putting them at higher risk for further infections.
India can substantially reduce deaths caused due to these diseases, through an integrated package of interventions. Immunisation and other strategies, like improving water and sanitation and reducing exposure to air pollution, help prevent infection. While the government of India had set ambitious and commendable goals of 90-per cent coverage in immunisation by 2018, more serious efforts are required for these targets to be realised.
Early Challenges to the delivery of essential interventions
Mission Indradhanush, with its widespread reach to districts and populations with low coverage, has contributed to improving integrity in healthcare. This has led to the reinforcement of immunisation efforts. India trends show tremendous progress in immunisation coverage with better improvements in rural areas and households in the least wealth quintile.
Recommendations to Master the Constraints
India needs to take serious steps to achieve Full Immunisation coverage by 2020 and global targets on good health and wellbeing by 2030. Addressing issues with evidence-based information will help improve and sustain public trust in vaccines and health systems worldwide. “The World Health Organization” [WHO], has requested countries to reach out to the children who are still unprotected from vaccine-preventable diseases.
The Take-Home Message—
‘Investing in a Healthy Childhood by reducing Infectious Diseases through Immunization and Strengthening’ Healthcare Systems.’
Timely vaccinations will make a world of difference in the wellbeing of the children of our nation.
Our expert at ‘EKAM Foundation’ works together to improve the quality of life that the poor and underprivileged population-live-in. Their mission is to facilitate life-saving medical treatment to children needing support. EKAM helps build and sustain a community culture and platform that supports, motivates and encourages people to adopt and maintain healthy lifestyle practices.
So, let’s connect with EKAM at www.ekamoneness.org to learn more.