Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Nov 19:
Odisha has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the country and full immunization coverage is lower than the national average. This makes children in the state vulnerable to diseases, experts opined.
To create awareness about child health and the importance of immunization for children, the Bansidhar & Ila Panda Foundation today organized a panel discussion on “Immunization for all: Improving the Health of Children” as part of their annual event IDEATE 2016.
In India, a child dies every minute from vaccine-preventable diseases. India also accounts for almost a fifth of all global under-five deaths; a large number of which are caused by vaccine-preventable diseases such as tuberculosis, pneumonia, diarrhea to name a few.
The participants explored the role of various stakeholders in raising awareness on the value of vaccines and to throw light on how child health indicators can be improved through various programs in the country, as well as in Odisha.
According to T Jacob John, Emeritus Professor at Christian Medical College, Vellore, “When we know how to protect children from vaccine-preventable diseases but we fail to act, and let a child develop disease or succumb to it, we are guilty of dereliction of duty. Full immunization is the birth-right of every child, rural or urban, poor or rich.”
“Immunization is one of the most cost-effective child survival interventions. Ideate 2016, is our continued commitment to increase awareness level on child health services in Odisha with the aim to reduce the child mortality rate,” Shaifalika Panda, Trustee & CEO Bansidhar & Ila Panda Foundation said.
Dr. Rajiv Tandon, Technical Director, MNCHN+ A, PATH, New Delhi appreciated the Government of Odisha’s pro-active stand in rolling out the new Rotavirus vaccine that reduces the incidents of diarrheal diseases in children, through routine immunization programmes.
Among others, Hemanta Kumar Mishra, Additional Director Child Health, State Expanded Program of Immunization, Joe Madiath, Founder, Gram Vikas, Mohuda and Dr. Amir Ullah Khan, Policy Advisor, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, New Delhi were present.