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MP kids to get protected against pneumonia and meningitis; free vaccination from April 7

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Senior Correspondent

Bhopal: Lakhs of children in Madhya Pradesh would now get protected against pneumonia and meningitis – diseases that lead to deaths and disability of thousands of kids every year – and that too free of cost.

All 51 districts of Madhya Pradesh have been included in the second phase launch of the all important Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV) along with four other states of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajashtan and Himachal Pradesh.

The free vaccine would become part of routine immunization programme and would be available at all the government health centres, state health department officials informed at a media briefing on Thursday.

The formal launch programme would be held at the Vidhan Sabha Auditorium on April 7 in presence of Governor Anandi Ben Patel. The vaccine would be rolled out on same day at all the districts.

Three doses are given to children under one year of age at one and half months, three and half months and nine months. In Madhya Pradesh it will cover around 2 million children every year. 

The open market cost of each dose of vaccine (each child has to receive three doses) is Rs 3800 but would be made available to all children (irrespective of financial status) totally free of cost.

The vaccine would prevent them against pneumonia and meningitis that led to death of around 1.05 children under age of five years in India in year 2010. Madhya Pradesh is the only state in the country to get the vaccine introduced in all 51 districts at one go.

The vaccine is being launched by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in association with UNICEF, UNDP, WHO, NHM, JSI, CHAI

In all 26.11 lac vaccine doses for upcoming launch of Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine have been received from Government of India in Madhya Pradesh said S Viswanathan, Mission Director, National Health Mission, Government of Madhya Pradesh. Out of pocket expenses will be reduced for families who go for immunization outside the Government system and pay for it.  

He said that the training of all Medical officers and front-line workers have been completed in all the districts of the State. He was speaking at media meet organized by State RI cell in partnership with UNICEF, UNDP, WHO, and supported by IAP, IMA and JSI. 

Dr Santosh Shukla, State Immunization Officer spoke about the preparedness and the plans to create awareness on availability of the free vaccine in government set-up while it costs a lot in private sector.  

Dr Vipin Shrivastava, State Cold Chain officer displayed the cold chain system, for maintaining the temperature of the vaccine. Dr Vandana Bhatia, UNICEF Health Specialist, UNICEF MP while responding to question at the media meet shared that we can save 13,500 lives from pneumococcal pneumonia in Madhya Pradesh after the vaccine reaches all children. 

Anil Gulati, Communication Specialist, UNICEF, MP anchored the programme.  Dr J L Mishra, Director NHM and Nursing, was also present at the meet along with Dr. O P Tiwari, Deputy Director, Immunization and representatives of UNDP, and WHO.