Haridwar district could hamper Uttarakhand’s child immunization programme माँ-बाप में जागरूकता की कमी से कारण बच्चों का टीकाकरण हुआ प्रभावित

Haridwar district could hamper Uttarakhand’s child immunization programme माँ-बाप में जागरूकता की कमी से कारण बच्चों का टीकाकरण हुआ प्रभावित


Haridwar, a predominantly a rural district, comprise a large chunk of Muslim population. While Uttarakhand’s immunization cover is above national average, lack of focus in Haridwar and its adjoining areas could hamper immunization programme. Haridwar is now a ‘top focus’ district for government authorities.

 


By Aarti Dhar

 


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or a young State like Uttarakhand having a immunization cover of 79.60 per cent is impressive but what demands attention is the 5 per cent children who have never been immunized and 15.5 per cent who are just partially immunized.  The national average of fully immunized children is 65.2 per cent.


Unimmunised and partially immunized children are vulnerable to several diseases. Vaccinations provided under the Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP) prevent children against seven life-threatening diseases like Diphtheria, Whooping cough, Tetanus, Tuberculosis, Measles, Polio and Hepatitis B. In select States, additional vaccines are provided against Heamophilus influenza type B and Japanese encephalitis.


Official statistics suggest half of those whose children were partially or totally unimmunized said they were unaware of the vaccines and 14 per cent said they did not know where to go for immunization. Another 13.5 per cent said they did not have the time while an equal percentage said the time of the vaccination was inconvenient for them. More than 11 per cent also said that they did not “feel the need to do so”’, 5 per cent fear the side effects and some also said they had been wrongly advised against vaccination.

 

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The dismal performance of the UIP made the government launch Mission Indradhanush in December last year to boost immunization coverage. Under this special nationwide initiative, all unvaccinated and partially vaccinated children would be covered under the Universal Immunization Programme by 2020. The Mission focuses on interventions to expand full immunization coverage in India from 65% in 2013 to at least 90% children in the next five years.

This will be done through special catch-up campaigns to rapidly increase full immunization coverage of children by 5% and more annually. Under the Mission, the Health Ministry has identified 201 high focus districts across the country that have the highest number of partially vaccinated and unvaccinated children. Nearly 50% of all unvaccinated or partially vaccinated children are in these 201 districts. Only one district — Haridwar – out of 13 districts has been earmarked as a high focus district from Uttarakhand.  During the Mission the focus will be on hard-to-reach areas, underserved regions and slums.


UNICEF, a partner in the Routine Immunisation programme, has collaborated with the Association of Radio Operators of India and this week presented the Radio4child Awards which was a first-of-its-kind initiative to honour Radio Jockeys (RJs) for their contribution towards sensitizing the public through creative messages on Routine Immunisation.


The awards were a culminated of capacity-building workshops, conducted by UNICEF for  over 40 private FM and AIR journalists right at the district level. The RJs participating in the workshops came from nine focus states with the lowest RI rates – Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.


“Radio, as a powerful medium, is a crucial point of contact with the remotest and hard-to-reach populations,” says Caroline den Dulk, Chief of Communications, UNICEF.

 

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Caroline Den Dulk, Chief of Communication and Advocacy, UNICEF; Harish Bhimani, renowned Indian voice-over artist; Madhuri Dixit, UNICEF celebrity advocate; Rajiv Shukla, Deputy Director General, All India Radio; Anurradha Prasad, President, Association of Radio Operators of India (AROI), on the occasion of the first ever Radio4child awards by UNICEF and AROI. UNICEF announced winners for Radio4child awards in Mumbai last week that honor selected radio jockeys (RJs) who have worked towards sensitizing the larger public through creative messages on Routine Immunization (RI).


 

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Aarti Dhar is a Delhi-based senior journalist who has covered a variety of social, developmental and political issues, which includes over two-decade-long association with The Hindu as Deputy Editor

 

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