J P Nadda, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare attended a function for the national launch of the Rotavirus vaccine as part of the Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP).
The Rotavirus vaccine has been developed indigenously, under a public-private partnership by the Ministry of Science and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. This therefore is a landmark achievement under 'Make in India' initiative.
At the event the health minister said that, "We have achieved a new milestone towards expanding the coverage of full immunisation in the country aimed at reducing child mortality".
He termed launch of Rotavirus vaccine as an historic moment and an exemplary step in India's immunisation programme, the Union Health Minister added that the Government is committed to reducing morbidity and mortality in children.
Introduction of Rotavirus vaccine will avert 27,000 deaths of children due to diarrhoea, 2.91L hospitalizations and 6.86L outpatients visit— Jagat Prakash Nadda (@JPNadda) March 26, 2016
Strengthening routine immunisation is an essential investment in India's children and will ensure a healthy future of the country, he noted.
He further added that, "Rotavirus is one of the leading causes of severe diarrhoea and death among children less than five years of age, and that every year nearly 80,000 to one lakh children die in the country due to Rotavirus diarrhoea, and about 9 lakh children are admitted to hospital due to episodes of severe diarrhoea with 32.7 lakh cases of OPD".
Major milestone of Union Health Ministry: Rotavirus vaccine to avert children's deaths due to diarrhoea— Jagat Prakash Nadda (@JPNadda) March 26, 2016
Mr. Nadda informed that introduction of Rotavirus vaccine will enable us to directly address the problem of diarrheal deaths. The vaccine is being introduced initially in four states i.e. Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Odisha and will be expanded to the entire country in a phased manner.
Rotavirus vaccine rolled out in HP, Haryana, Odisha and AP in the first phase, as part of UIP. pic.twitter.com/VLrMT6w9aY— Narendra Modi (@narendramcdi) March 27, 2016
He further noted that, "Adding this life-saving vaccine to our immunisation program will not only improve the health of our children but also reduce hospitalisation and other conditions associated with diarrhea due to Rotavirus such as malnutrition, delayed physical and mental development among children. Reduced hospitalisation reduces the economic burden on the family and the health cost burden on the country".
More new vaccines:
Four new vaccines are being introduced as part of UIP including Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV), Rotavirus vaccine, Measles, Rubella (MR) vaccine, and Adult Japanese Encephalitis (JE) vaccine.
With these new vaccines, India's UIP will provide free vaccines against 12 life threatening diseases, to 27 million children annually, the largest birth cohort in the world.
IPV has been introduced in six states from 30 Nov 2015 for provide double protection against Polio.
India's immunisation programme:
India's Universal Immunisation Programme launched in 1985 is one of the largest immunisation programmes in the world and a major public health intervention in the country.
Present Union Government aims to give maximum protection to the children against Vaccine Preventable Diseases (VPDs).
Following this vision, the Ministry of Health has launched 'Mission Indradhanush' in December 2014 to fully immunise more than 89 lakh children who are either unvaccinated or partially vaccinated.
In two phases of 'Mission Indradhanush' spread over April 2015 to July 2015 and October 2015 to January 2016 a total of 1.42 crore children and 36.7 lakh women were immunised in 20 lakh immunisation sessions.
The gains made in 'Mission Indradhanush' have led to health systems strengthening, which provides India a good opportunity for the introduction of a new vaccine and ensures the reach of immunisation program to each and every child.
The role of public representatives in taking public health programs to the grassroots level is very crucial.