Vaccination is today’s gift for your child’s healthy tomorrow. Celebrated during the last week of April every year, World Immunization Week is a worldwide health campaign to create awareness on the needs of immunization against vaccine-preventable diseases. Every year millions of people are saved from the deadly attack of illnesses and disabilities such as polio, diphtheria, measles, mumps, rubella, cervical cancer, hepatitis B, pertussis and tetanus, 2-3 million deaths are prevented and people are becoming healthier due to the efficiency of a simple, inexpensive tool called ‘vaccination’.
Vaccination Aids in Disease Prevention
As soon as a child is born, weight and height measurements are taken, head circumference is measured and hearing levels are confirmed. Along with these value charts, the physician gives a list of vaccines that need to be injected as the child grows up. But sadly, in countries where mortality rates are high, more than 50% of the child population miss out on all these essential vaccinations needed for growing up in a healthy way.
Since the last few years, the number of children receiving vaccinations worldwide has decreased drastically and almost stagnated. If the vaccinations had been dispersed to kids as expected, more than 1.5 million lives could have been saved every year. These kids are robbed of their basic essential needs such as poor nutrition and health, inappropriate sanitation services and water which only makes way for diseases such as diarrhea, pneumonia and measles to attack them even more easily. Most of them live in densely populated poor communities that include slum environments where immunization chances are negligible. In 2016 alone, almost 19.5 million infants were deprived of their routine vaccinations amongst which a majority of them lived in 10 countries and sadly, India is one among them. Urbanization is rapidly happening and the future decades seem bleak as the population of urban slums is only going to multiply, specifically in Asia and Africa. But, this is not a reason to leave our future generation unattended, deprived of their rights and making them a victim of death. Organizations such as the WHO and UNICEF work with different countries and governments to improve knowledge about vaccination and encourage countries to arrange camps and services to reach one and all.
Indian government has opted for a vast immunization program that covers more than 26 million people annually. In late 2014, strategy ‘Mission Indradhanush’ was launched to provide full vaccination for children up to 2 years of age and pregnant women. Last few years helped India increase vaccination numbers by only 1% per year and this strategy aims to increase full immunization coverage to 90% by 2020. Every city, village, nomadic settlements and tribes are marked and local health workers take responsibility to vaccinate people in every marked locality. India’s Universal Immunization Program is the largest in the world which makes around nine million routine immunizations feasible across the country. The Routine Immunization (RI) program caters to the need of 27 million infants and 30 million pregnant women which helps saving the life of more than 4,00,000 children annually.
Interesting Immunization Facts
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.