Govt Allays Apprehensions Over Side-Effect of Immunization
Health Minister J. P. Nadda has allayed the apprehensions about vaccines and de-worming tablets having harmful side effects on children, and said that the government was seeking support from the community leaders and NGOs to deal with such misconceptions. He said immunization has given positive results in improving health of children.
In the new Health Policy there has been shift from being disease centric to prevention and promoting health care in the country. Mission Indradhanush, which is meant for immunization of children, plays a critical role in this prevention and promotion of health care, he said.
At present, the immunization coverage in the country is 71 percent which is targeted to go up to 90 percent by 2019. The Mission was named Mission Indradhanush as originally only seven types of vaccines were included in it, but now eleven different vaccines are given under it by the government including those against MMR, Rota virus and against Japanese Encephalitis. These new vaccines have been added to check mortality among children. Rota virus caused diarrhea in ten lakh children of which about one lakh died every year, Mr Nadda said while interacting with members of Indian Womens Press Corps.
He said that involving faith and community leaders and NGO has proved beneficial as they create awareness among the people about any misconception. He said for de-worming children are given Albendazole tablets once a year which is a cost effective means to keep them healthy and helps in reducing the school drop- out rates. However, there were some complaints of children falling sick after taking the tablets, so we took support from NGOs to remove their misconceptions. Mr Nadda said all the programmes of the government go through a process of testing with committees looking into their various aspects.
Mr Nadda also assured that India is on track as far as achieving Sustainable Development Goals on health is concerned. The Infant Mortality Rate and Maternal Mortality Ratio as well as under-five mortality had gone down fast. He said that under the Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan (PMSMA) 3750 gynecologists and 11,470 facilities have volunteered where specialists come on the 9th of every month. They have conducted medical check up of about 2.7 lakh high risk pregnancies and provided treatment. He said that the total fertility rate has declined to 2.1 to 2.3 while 147 districts still have high TFR of 3 and above where a wider range of birth control choice is being provided to the people.
Regarding the serious problem of stunting of children which impacts their health and development and in turn adversely impact the GDP of the country, the Health Minister said that the government is serious about the issue and the universal immunization and various other health programmes would reduce it in future. Moreover, Rs 6000 of financial support is now being given to all the pregnant women for their nutrition and that of the new born child which in turn would reduce stunting.
He said that a life cycle approach has been adopted under which health assurance is given to women who become pregnant. The government provides weekly iron and folic acid supplement and vaccination for all kinds of diseases including tetanus. He said that programmes like Kilkari under which 72 messages are sent to pregnant women and new mothers at pre-natal and ante-natal stage to create awareness among them about mother and child health and MCTS (Mother and Child Tracking System) tracks crores of women.
He said that the government had taken a number of steps to provide affordable medicines to the people through AMRIT which is digitally manage. At 54 outlets 18,71000 patients were sold generic medicines worth Rs 173.33 crore for just Rs 73 crore which meant a saving of Rs 105.95 crore which amounts to 60 to 90 percent saving.