Hib vaccine awaits State nod
By SN Agragami / ENS - BHUBANESWAR
10th July 2012 12:03 PM
The Centre is set to include Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type B) vaccine in its routine immunisation programme in six States from October this year even as it awaits expression of interest from Odisha on the front.The vaccine would be launched in pentavalent form combining vaccines for diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (DTP) and hepatitis B, that are currently covered under the Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP).
The six States include Karnataka, Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana, Gujarat, Pudducherry and Goa. “More States such as Bihar, Punjab, Delhi and Jharkhand have also put forth their requests. We are also expecting interest from Odisha soon. The Hib vaccine would be introduced in these States in subsequent stages”, Deputy Commissioner, Child Health and Immunisation under Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Ajay Khera told “Express” on Monday. The National Technical Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) has recommended use of pentavalent or five-in-one vaccine with DPT, Hepatitis B and Hib. The decision to include Hib in the UIP was taken because of the magnitude of Hib-caused pneumonia and meningitis in children.Pneumonia is one of the leading causes of child deaths in India, accounting for nearly one-third of all deaths in children less than five years of age.
The Lancet study on causes of neonatal and child mortality in India, published in 2010, has put pneumonia mortality rate in Odisha at 13.1 per 1,000 cases.The mortality rate among children infected by Hib meningitis is 10 per cent and as high as 30 per cent of survivors suffer from permanent disabilities. The pentavalent vaccine had been introduced in Tamil Nadu and Kerala in December 2011 and more than one million children have been covered till now.
The Government has also stepped up efforts to increase the rate of full immunisation coverage across the country by declaring 2012 as the “Year of Intensification of Routine Immunisation”. As many as 239 districts have been identified where the immunisation coverage is less than the National average of 61 per cent. Special interventions would be made to raise it over the National average.
At least 7.6 million children in the country are not covered by full vaccination and thus not fully protected. “The States have been asked to identify the pockets of floating population like urban slums, industries and enterprises that have migrant labour and workforce along with pockets of refusals like religious belief-driven community and bring them under the UIP fold. The immunisations would be carried out at their doorsteps, wherever available”, the Deputy Commissioner stated. Khera, who was here to attend a symposium on problem of pneumonia in eastern India organised by the National Institute of Immunology and Asian Institute of Public Health, also sated that ASHA workers are being energised through special incentives scheme to increase UIP coverage.
While an incentive of `50 is being given to them for mobilising children for immunisation for two consecutive years, they would now be offered `100 extra per child achieving full coverage. “This could prove to be a game changer. With around 26 million births every year, the Centre would be spending at least `400 crore for providing incentives to ASHA workers for immunisation work”, he stated.
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