Greetings! You are an important advocate for child health in India and it is with great pleasure that we are writing to you. This is the second of a series of periodic emails through which we would like to share research, media, and other efforts ongoing in India around child health and disease prevention. We hope that you will share these updates with your colleagues and networks, and that they will be useful tools as you continue addressing the urgent child health needs in India.
Government Launches Mission Indradhanush
As 2014 came to a close, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) announced the launch of Mission Indradhanush – a campaign to vaccinate all unvaccinated and partially vaccinated children and pregnant women by 2020 under the Universal Immunization Programme (UIP). Mission Indradhanush is focusing on interventions to expand UIP coverage to more than 90% of children, up from 65%.
The Government has identified 201 high focus districts across the country, where it will organize special catch-up campaigns to rapidly increase full immunization coverage to help reduce morbidity and mortality due to vaccine-preventable diseases. These diseases include: diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, polio, tuberculosis, measles, and hepatitis B. Read more.
You can join the movement by tweeting #FullyImmunizeEveryChild and sharing this graphic with your network. For updates, follow @Vaccinate4Life.
The Value of Vaccines
Vaccines are considered to be one of the most cost-effective solutions in the history of health and development. In 2012, some of the world’s leading health economists ranked childhood
immunization among the top three most cost-effective solutions to advance human welfare.
Importantly, vaccines don’t just save lives. They also prevent illness, hospitalization, disability, and unnecessary human suffering. They provide indirect benefits to individuals and society, including improvements in cognitive development, educational attainment, and labor productivity.
We created a new brochure, for use in your advocacy efforts, about the power of vaccines in India.
National Health Policy
The Draft National Health Policy, recently shared by the MoHFW on its website includes several points that may impact new vaccine introduction. Key among them are the need for a national epidemiological evidence base for decision-making and monitoring, better reporting of Adverse Event Following Immunization (AEFI), and evaluating compensation for AEFI cases. The MoHFW solicited comments on the draft policy though the end of February.
Upcoming Child Health and Immunization Events
in Kochi, India
• World Immunization Week (Next Week!)
• ASVAC 2015 - Asian Vaccine Conference in Hanoi, Vietnam
Continuing the Momentum
The Government of India’s continued commitment to child health is inspiring. Each great stride helps save more lives and prevent illness. Your voice plays an important role in demanding that the same level of momentum and commitment remains. Through advocacy YOU can become a champion.
Here are 10 ways you can advocate during World Immunization Week ():
Brief a state or district level government official, elected representative, political leader or other key stakeholder
Write an Op-Ed or an article
Speak to a journalist
Write a letter to a policymaker to call for new vaccines and/or investment in strengthening the system
Organize or participate in a child health or immunization event
Build awareness amongst colleagues and friends
Use social media to promote immunizations at a local and/or global level (e.g. #vaccineswork)
Educate families, students, and others about risks of disease and what can be done
Share success stories with this advocacy network
Display advocacy materials illustrating value of vaccines prominently at your practice or place of employment
Thank you for your dedication to child health and survival in India.
Dr. Mathuram Santosham
Professor, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (JHSPH)
Senior Advisor, JHSPH International Vaccine Access Center (IVAC)