Shillong(Meghalaya),June 2 : National Health Mission, Meghalaya in collaboration with the Office of the District Medical & Health Officer, East Khasi Hills District, today launched the Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV) at a programme held at Pomlum PHC, East Khasi Hills.
S K Sunn, Mawphlang MLA graced the occasion as Chief Guest.
S K Sunn stated that the programme is meant for the mothers and their infants who are the direct beneficiaries. He urged upon the mothers to not be hesitant but to come forward and avail this benefit. He further stated that with the launching of this PCV, the infant mortality rate relating to pneumonia will be reduced significantly.
In his speech, Ram Kumar, Mission Director NHM Meghalaya, said that this programme is an important one as it is directly related to the maternal and infant deaths in the state. He also said that based on these factors, a rescue programme was initiated whereby in the last 3 months, 7 out of 11 districts in the state reported zero maternal deaths which is an indication that the state is moving in the right direction.
It may be mentioned that Pneumonia is the leading cause of death among children below 5 years of age. The Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV) is available through NHM and will be provided free of cost. The vaccine is available in 3 doses; 1st dose to be administered when the child attains 6 weeks, 2nd dose on the 14th week and 3rd dose when the child attains 9 months. The vaccine is also available in private hospitals at the rate of Rs 3000/- per dose.
Others who spoke during the programme were Dr. R Tariang, DHS (MCH&FW), Dr. D P Syiem, Senior Medical & Health Officer I/c Pomlum PHC, Dr. S Khonglah, District MCH Officer and Dr. P Manners, State Immunization Officer.
In Tura , Principal Secretary, Sampath Kumar launched the Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV) at Asanang PHC in West Garo Hills today. It may be mentioned that the vaccine will be introduced in the Routine immunization programme which will be administered to children free of cost in all the health centres of the district.
In his brief speech, Principal Secretary Sampath Kumar highlighted the importance of immunization and that it helps in preventing those diseases which has no cure and informed that about 50 % of children die in the State of Meghalaya due to of pneumonia related illness. Therefore, he urged the parents to cooperate with the health department in immunising their children regularly and ensure that every child is healthy in future.
Moreover, appreciating the effort and dedication of the healthcare providers in the state, he said that their contribution in health care services is commendable particularly the implementation of Covid -19 vaccine in Garo Hills region is exemplary as most of the 45 plus citizens are vaccinated and thus have helped in minimizing the number of covid-19 patients to some extend in the region and also urged those not vaccinated to take their shots as soon as possible.
Further, he also mentioned that in order to deal with Pneumonia management in the grassroot level, training for the ASHAs will be given soon.
Sharing her personal experience, Block Development Officer, Rongram C & RD Block, Shelley Ch Momin also advised the parents to vaccinate their children in time and take opportunity of the facilities provided by the government and also to take care of their children when they are unwell so that they get proper and timely treatment for their ailment.
The DMCHO, Tura Dr. Ivonne M Sangma while delivering the keynote address briefed the gathering about the aims and objectives of the universal immunization programme which protects every child from various diseases by administering vaccine and the aims of National Health Mission is also to reduce mother and infant mortality in the country.
Referring to high number of deaths of children in the country due to pneumonia, the Government of India has introduced this PCV vaccine which was launched earlier in other states, she informed. Moreover, she advised the parents to take the children for early treatment when they are unwell and vaccination is a must, she added.
Further, she informed that the first dose of the PCV vaccine will given when the child is one and half month old, second dose will be administered when the child is 3 and half month and booster dose will be given during ninth month along with other vaccines. She also seeks the cooperation of all to take this opportunity and vaccinate our children so that they stay fit and healthy in future stating that the best gift for a child is full immunization since material things cannot replace the good health of a person.
Others who spoke on the occasion were Additional District Medical and Health Officer, Tura Dr. Bijoy Deb barma, Medical Officer, Asanang PHC, Dr. Toksie Marak, staff of Asanang PHC and people of the area were present during the launching programme.