J P Nadda, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare announced the expansion of the Rotavirus vaccine under its Universal Immunization Programme in five additional states.
Diarrhoea is one of the biggest killers in children and Rotavirus is one of the most common causes of severe diarrhoea in children less than 2 years of age. Rotavirus vaccine along with proper sanitation, hand washing practices, ORS and zinc supplementation will go a long way in reducing the mortality and morbidity due to diarrhoea in children.
The fourth phase of Mission Indradhanush has already begun in North-eastern states – Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura from 7th February 2017 and will be rolled out in rest of the country in April 2017.
This life-saving vaccine will not only improve the health of our children but will also reduce hospitalization and other conditions associated with diarrhoea due to Rotavirus such as malnutrition, delayed physical and mental development among children.
The vaccine will prevent Rotavirus diarrhoea in children which accounts for approximately 40 per cent of hospitalizations from diarrhoea in India. Rotavirus diarrhoea is responsible for nearly 78,000 deaths, 32 lakh out-patient visits and nearly 9 lakh hospitalizations every year. Rotavirus diarrhoea can also lead to dehydration, malnutrition and delayed physical and mental development in children.
In March 2016, the Rotavirus vaccine was first introduced in four states namely Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha. Till date, about 38 lakh children have been vaccinated with Rotavirus vaccine in these four states.
Now, the vaccine will be expanded to five more states of Assam, Tripura, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu.
Currently, India has the one of the number of deaths due to diarrhoea in children under the age of 5 years. Globally, diarrhoea is responsible for 5,76,000 child deaths every year.
India’s UIP provide free vaccines against 11 life threatening diseases, to 26 million children annually, the largest birth cohort in the world. The Universal Immunization Programme provides life-saving vaccines to all children across the country free of cost to protect them against Tuberculosis, Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus, Polio, Hepatitis B, Pneumonia and Meningitis due to Haemophilus Influenzae type b (Hib), Measles, Rubella, Japanese Encephalitis (JE) and Rotavirus diarrhoea. (Rubella, JE and Rotavirus vaccine in select states and districts).