इंडियन आवाज़     30 Nov 2023 05:09:15      انڈین آواز

NE states slips on universal child immunization

Abhijit Roy Chowdhury

NEW DELHI: North Eastern state including Tripura have slipped on universal child immunization programme raising concern along with some other mainland states even though smaller states other than the region have fared well, according to the Government’s own survey.
According to District Level Household Survey undertaken by the Government, Tripura, Meghalaya and Arunanchal Pradesh all had full immunisation coverage of less than 40 per cent. The ratio is close to double in Goa, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Himachal Pradesh all small states or union territories.
States which cause the highest concern are Meghalaya , Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Manipur where more than 10 per cent of the children had absolutely no vaccination, according to the report. Universal child immunisation is one of the targets under the Millennium Development Goal programme to reduce child mortality where India is quite far from achieving this goal, the report said.
The complete schedule of immunisation for children under two years includes BCG (tuberculosis), three doses each of polio and DPT (diphtheria, pertussis or whooping cough, tetanus) and measles. Often the first doses are given but the schedule for multiple dose vaccines is not followed the report said.
DLHS data showed that 5.2 per cent of the children in rural areas did not receive a single dose vaccination at all, while this share was 2.9 per cent in urban India. The most commonly cited reason for not vaccinating at all is lack of awareness — around half of the mothers, in rural and urban areas said they were unaware of the need to immunise.
In addition, mothers cited the fear of side-effects, lack of knowledge of the place or timing of immunisation, absence of medical personnel, distance to the immunisation centre as reasons for not vaccinating their children. One important point brought out by the DLHS survey is the link between the level of the mother’s education and child immunisation — a little over a third of the children with illiterate mothers have received the full immunisation cover, while the percentage crosses 50 per cent when mothers have had less than five years of school, the report said.

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