Bihar rolled out its latest weapon in the battle to save infants’ lives. A new vaccine has been added to the routine immunization programme, one that prevents pneumonia.
Bihar which is a pneumonia endemic region, is one of three focus states in the National campaign against pneumonia.
The PCV vaccine has been proved to be a very effective tool against pneumonia in 139 countries. According to Central Government data, 15 per cent deaths in children below 5 year of age is due to pneumonia in India. Out of this, 70 per cent happen in four states – Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. The vaccine is a strong defence against pneumonia and meningitis that happens through pneumococcal bacteria, N K Agrawal, secretary, Indian Academy of Paediatricians (IAP), Bihar chapter, said at a UNICEF programme recently.
The Indian government has started a campaign on Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine: PCV from 13th May. This vaccination prevents children from getting Pneumonia. The vaccine is certified by the World Health Organisation.
Pneumonia is one of the most common factors in the deaths of children under the age of 5 years. Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan are highly affected. In India around 178,994 deaths of children take place because of Pneumonia, every year and around 21,000 of these occur in Bihar.
PVC vaccination will be given to children under the age of 5 in different rounds, through the designated government hospitals and primary health centres.
21 Lakh children will be vaccinated in the first round. It will cover Himachal Pradesh, Bihar, and some parts of Uttar Pradesh. This Vaccine is available at health centres, sub centres and in aanganwadi centres at free of cost. The price of this vaccine in the open market is about Rs 3000, said government sources.
In first round Bihar will cover 17 districts- Arariya, Begusari, Darbhanga, Kishanganj, Khagariya, Katihar, Muzaffarpur, Munger, Vaishali, Madhepura, Madhubani, Purniya, Samastipur, Saharsa, Sitamadhi, Shivhar and Supaul. 4,23,661, doses will be needed to vaccinate around 128,382 children through 46,881 monthly vaccination sessions in Bihar.
According to government reports, in 2010, more than 5.6 lakh children were suffering from Pneumococcal Pneumonia in India and 1.05 lakh died because of it.
The Ministry of Health is already running a vaccination campaign for Haemophilus and Meningitis. Now with the help of PVC; India is fighting strongly against Pneumonia and Meningitis, so that India becomes a healthy nation.