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India Among Top Countries With Maximum Childhood Immunisation Coverage: World Health Organization

The WHO and UNICEF estimates for national immunization coverage for 2022, released on Tuesday (July 18), show that in WHO’s south-east Asia region the coverage rate for DPT3, third dose of diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus vaccines reached 91 per cent of the pre-pandemic level, a sharp increase from 82 per cent recorded in 2021

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World Health Organization Calls For Intensified Efforts Towards Childhood Immunisation
The number of children who have not received even the first dose of DPT vaccine halved from 4.6 million in 2021 to 2.3 million in 2022.

New Delhi: The World Health Organization on Tuesday (July 18), called for intensified efforts towards childhood immunization with a focus on reaching the 2.3 million unvaccinated and 650,000 partially vaccinated children. The WHO’s South-East Asia Region complimented member countries for scaling up childhood immunization coverage to pre-pandemic level.

Every child deserves to be protected against life-threatening diseases with routine immunization, said Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, the regional director of WHO’s South-East Asia region.

The momentum built with impressive efforts and immunization service recoveries must continue to benefit every child for a healthy and productive life, she said.

Also Read: Childhood Vaccination Rates Begin To Recover Post-Pandemic: United Nations

The WHO and UNICEF estimates for national immunization coverage for 2022, released on Tuesday (July 18), show that in WHO’s south-east Asia region the coverage rate for DPT3, third dose of diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus vaccines reached 91 per cent of the pre-pandemic level, a sharp increase from 82 per cent recorded in 2021. The region has also shown a six per cent improvement in coverage of the measles vaccine in 2022 compared to 2021, moving from 86 per cent to 92 per cent.

The number of children who have not received even the first dose of DPT vaccine halved from 4.6 million in 2021 to 2.3 million in 2022.

Similarly, the number of partially vaccinated children — who have received at least one dose of DPT vaccine but not the complete primary series of three doses, reduced from 1.3 million in 2021 to 6,50,000 in 2022.

The south-east Asia region had the best immunization recoveries among all WHO regions which can be majorly attributed to efforts being made by India and Indonesia, Singh said.

Also Read: One Child Or Youth Died In Every 4.4 Seconds In 2021 Due To Lack Of Basic Health Care: UN Report

India recorded 93 per cent DPT3 coverage in 2022, surpassing the pre-pandemic all-time high of 91 per cent in 2019 and a rapid increase from 85 per cent recorded in 2021, she said. “While we draw lessons from the pandemic to strengthen capacities to respond to future health emergencies, we must learn from countries which maintained their immunization rates even while responding to a pandemic,” said the regional director of WHO’s South-East Asia region.

While overall immunization coverage levels are looking good and the progress encouraging, there remain variabilities in the coverage at sub-national levels in countries, especially in those with large populations. The inequities in immunization coverage leading to accumulation of pockets of unvaccinated children pose the risk of outbreaks of measles, diphtheria, and other vaccine-preventable diseases. These gaps must be closed, Mr. Singh said.

The countries and partner agencies must continue to scale up efforts to identify unvaccinated children, strengthen the capacities of the health workforce, better understand and engage with vulnerable populations and roll out tailored strategies to reach every child, she added.

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The number of zero-dose children i.e. those that have not received even the first dose of the DPT vaccine halved from 4.6 million in 2021 to 2.3 million in 2022. Similarly, the number of partially vaccinated children, those that had received at least one dose of DPT vaccine but did not complete the primary series of 3 doses, reduced from 1.3 million in 2021 to 650 000 in 2022 – a 50 per cent decline.

The Region had the best immunization recoveries among all WHO Regions which can be majorly attributed to efforts being made by India and Indonesia, the Regional Director said.

India recorded 93 per cent DPT3 coverage in 2022, surpassing the pre-pandemic all-time high of 91 per cent in 2019, and a rapid increase from 85 per cent recorded in 2021.

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Indonesia’s DPT3 coverage recovered to 85 per cent, the same as in 2019, but the country recorded one of the sharpest recoveries from 67 per cent in 2021.

Bhutan with 98 per cent and Maldives with 99 per cent DPT3 coverage surpassed their pre-pandemic immunization rates.

Bangladesh with 98 per cent and Thailand with 97 per cent have demonstrated consistency in routine immunization coverage throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Dr Khetrapal Singh said,

While we draw lessons from the pandemic to strengthen capacities to respond to future health emergencies, we must learn from countries that maintained their immunization rates even while responding to a pandemic. Much has been achieved, much needs to be done. While overall immunization coverage levels are looking good, and the progress is encouraging, there remain variabilities in the coverage at sub-national levels in countries, especially in those with large populations. The inequities in immunization coverage leading to the accumulation of pockets of unvaccinated children pose the risk of outbreaks of measles, diphtheria, and other vaccine-preventable diseases. These gaps must be closed.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – theLGBTQ population,indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the currentCOVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water,SanitationandHygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fightmalnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health,adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues likeair pollution,waste management,plastic ban,manual scavengingand sanitation workers andmenstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India wheretoiletsare used andopen defecation free (ODF)status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched byPrime Minister Narendra Modiin 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.

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