New Delhi, Mar 26: The Centre today launched the rotavirus vaccine as part of its Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP) to prevent diarrhoeal death among children due to the virus which claims lives of nearly one lakh children every year.
Terming it as "historic" moment and "exemplary" step in India's immunisation programme, Union Health Minister J P Nadda said strengthening routine immunisation is an essential investment in India's children and will ensure a healthy future of the country.
"We have achieved a new milestone towards expanding the coverage of full immunisation in the country aimed at reducing child mortality. Government is committed to reducing morbidity and mortality in children.
Strengthening routine immunisation is an essential investment in India's children and will ensure a healthy future of the country," Nadda said at the launch at Bhubaneswar today.
Noting that the introduction of rotavirus vaccine will enable the government to directly address the problem of diarrhoeal deaths, Nadda said the vaccine will be introduced initially in Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Odisha and expanded to the entire country in a phased manner.
"Adding this life-saving vaccine to our immunisation programme will not only improve the health of our children but also reduce hospitalisation and other conditions associated with diarrhoea 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," Nadda said adding that the vaccine has been developed under a public-private partnership by the ministries of Health and Science and is a "landmark" achievement under 'Make in India'.
The Health Ministry said rotavirus is one of the leading causes of severe diarrhoea and death among children less than five years of age and every year nearly 80,000-1 lakh children die in India due to it.