CHENNAI :India is a vast nation, and with the second highest population in the world it constantly strives to achieve full immunization cover. However, diseases like measles-rubella, diarrhea, pneumonia, etc. account for an approximate of 5 lakh deaths annually among children. Vaccine-preventable diseases are contagious infections that are fatal but can be prevented by administering timely vaccinations. It is a source of the most affordable and an investment-friendly method of disease prevention. Over the last couple of decades, the Universal Immunization Program launched by the government has successfully raised awareness and positioned vaccines as critical for our nation’s health security. While, states such as Goa, Manipur, Kerala and Puducherry have showed immense progress in extending immunization cover; states like Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Assam, Rajasthan, Odisha as well as Jammu and Kashmir have been the low-performers.
Talking about the immunization system, Kiran Bedi, said, “The “Anganwadi System” has almost 1600 women, who are grassroot workers employing the assistance from “Anganwadi” teachers as well. So, literally 1600 people spread all over Puducherry, who are residents of their respective areas and have got jurisdiction and they are house to house connected with every family.It’s a good inherited system, we are continually fine-tuning it, by training them better, and orienting them better, motivating them better, inspiring them more, and nurturing it.”
Recently, during a conversation regarding immunization and the Swasth Immunised India campaign, Kiran Bedi, Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry touched upon the factors that have aided Puducherry in achieving a full immunization coverage. The union territory has employed a robust support system to advocate on the awareness regarding immunization. The ‘Anganwadi System’, follows a door to door approach to raise awareness across the city. By implementing a welfare-orientedapproach, the system incentivizes the ‘ASHA’ workers to aid in motivating people to lead a healthy life. Kiran Bedi emphasized on the importance of large awareness programs across varied formats. To motivate families towards immunization and vaccination, all the stakeholders should engage in conversations across all formats including mobile van, F.M Radio, news channel, posters, or word-of-mouth. By activating all forces India will be successful in penetrating to the grass root level and ensure all families have subscribed to full coverage immunizations.
Taking forward the cause of spreading awareness regarding the importance of immunization, information regarding accessible and affordable vaccines for all is an initiative called ‘Swasth Immunized India’, a pan India campaign, that aims to drive the country towards a healthy and an immunized future. Driven by SII, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer and Network18, the initiative aims to spread awareness as well as encourage the masses to accept and administer necessary vaccinations to prevent fatal diseases among children and expectant mothers.