BHUBANESWAR: After launching the Rotavirus vaccine, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has set its sight on bringing in the pneumonia vaccine under the fold of Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP).
The vaccine, according to Union Health Secretary Bhanu Pratap Sharma, is already available in the private sector and efforts are on to include it in the ambit of UIP.
Speaking on the sidelines of the national launch of Rotavirus vaccine here, Sharma said annually, over two lakh children die of pneumonia whereas severe diarrhoea, caused by Rotavirus, claims lives of over 80,000 children under the age of five. Although pneumonia vaccine is expensive, necessary clearances are being sought for its inclusion in UIP, Sharma said.
“We hope that with the introduction of the new vaccines, we will be able to control the under-five mortalities caused by Rotavirus and pneumonia,” the Union Health Secretary said.
Disease burden such as severe diarrhoea and pneumonia not only contribute to morbidity and mortality but also lead to huge out-of-pocket expenditure for the poor. Annually, the total out-of-pocket expenditure is estimated at `1000 crore which takes a toll on the economically weaker sections.
“The Government will spend `200 crore to `300 crore on the new Rotavirus vaccine but it would help bring down the out-of-pocket expenditure of the poor. The vaccination programmes will be very cost-effective measures for reducing the infant mortality rate (IMR),” he added.
The under-five mortality at the national level stands at 41-42 per 1,000 live births as against the sustainable development goals of 40 by 2015.
Secretary to Health Department of Odisha Government Arti Ahuja said the IMR and MMR reduction in the State has been highest in the country. The State Government has committed `211 crore over five years to further slash IMR and MMR and immunisation would play a key role in the strategy.
According to an ICMR study, Ahuja said at least 99,000 child diarrhoea cases are received at the OPDs. The Rotavirus vaccine will be of great impact in the State as at least 8.53 lakh children between 0-1 years could be covered under the vaccination.