Saturday, August 06, 2011

Vaccination health news from India - Depressing Statistics, Innovative solutions

That India ranks low globally in its rate of vaccinating its population probably comes as no surprise. In 2010, only 72% of Indian babies received the three doses of the DPT vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough. This was quite poor when compared to 95% for Bangladesh and 83% for Indonesia. The reason for this dismal statistic has been attributed to weak, decentralized public health infrastructure and inadequate monitoring. And so, in a bid to make sure that there is extensive coverage of babies that would require vaccination, India's health minister has come out with a new initiative. This would involve collecting mobile phone numbers of all pregnant mothers to monitor their babies' vaccinations. While this project has already begun, the quantum of funds invested for this project is not known. That said, one wonders whether this plan will really solve the problem that confronts India. For starters, there could be discrepancies in the mobile numbers themselve s, a problem that the health ministry is also facing. What India could probably do is make healthcare a priority at the Centre rather than relegating it to states.

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