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Attempt to reduce diarrhoeal deaths: Free Rotavirus vaccine for MP children introduced

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Senior Correspondent

Bhopal: In an attempt to prevent at least 5000-6500 children’s deaths that occur every year due to Rotavirus diarrhoea, the MP government had introduced free Rotavirus vaccine for children under the age of one year.

The oral vaccine (drops) would be given to kids as part of the routine immunization programme of the state government.

Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan launched the service on April 2 and now the vaccine would be part of the immunization process undertaken by the state health department, a media meet was told in Bhopal on Thursday.

The meet was organized by Department of Health in partnership with UNICEF. Representatives of John Snow India, WHO, UNDP and UNICEF were present at the meet.

The three doses of oral vaccine are to be given to the children at age of six weeks (one-and-half month), ten weeks (two-and-half months) and 14 weeks (three and half months). A new immunization card with the schedule has already been developed and would be given to all registered newborns.

Addressing the meet Dr K L Sahoo, Director Public Health, Government of Madhya Pradesh said that introduction of Rotavirus Vaccine is an important step to strengthen immunization programme in the State.

State immunization officer Dr Santosh Shukla said that Rota Virus Vaccine is painless, harmless, and safest vaccine which can help reduce 40 % diarrheal incidence, morbidity and mortality.  He said that we are the fifth state in India to launch this vaccine.

Michael Juma, Chief, UNICEF, Madhya Pradesh congratulated the Madhya Pradesh State Government for launch of the Rotavirus vaccine and said that this will go long way in saving lives of children.

He added that in Madhya Pradesh 6500 diarrheal deaths are due to Rotavirus and more than 5000 can be prevented with 95 % immunization coverage of this vaccine.

Dr OP Tiwari, deputy director immunization said that phase IV of Mission Indradhanush (special immunization drive) will be launched on April 7 in 15 districts of the State, namely Barwani, Bhopal, Chhindwara, Dhar, Gwalior, Indore Jabalpur, Khargone, Morena, Panna, Sagar, Shivpuri, Singrauli, Ujjjain and Vidisha.

Dr K K Thassu, Director Hospital Administration, Government of Madhya Pradesh, Dr BP Subramaniya, Regional Team Leader NPSP, WHO, Dr Akash Malik of John Snow International, Dr Pankaj Somani, State Programme Manager UNDP and Dr Vandana Bhatia, Health Specialist UNICEF, Madhya Pradesh were present. Anil Gulati Communication Specialist UNICEF, Madhya Pradesh coordinated the meet.