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Govt to launch aggressive immunisation programme

KATHMANDU, DEC 14 - In what seems to be one of the best moves by the Ministry of Health and Population to protect thousands of newborns in the country from many childhood diseases, the ministry is launching an aggressive routine immunisation programme in 2012, also the Immunisation Year.

The move comes in line with the government's plan to increase the coverage of the routine immunisation programme. Currently, nine vaccines are administered to the newborns below one year of age. Also the vaccine for Japanese Encephalitis (JE) is given to children of over two, in high risk districts and TT vaccines are given to pregnant women.

“The National Demographic Health Survey (NDHS) 2011 has shown that 87 percent of children throughout the country have been vaccinated. Now the government has shifted its focus on those children who haven't been vaccinated,” said Dr Shyam Raj Upreti, director at the Child Health Division under the Department of Health Services.

The NDHS 2011 has shown that 3 percent of children in the country haven't received none of these vaccines despite the government making them free of cost.  Every year 660,000 babies are born in Nepal and we have targeted to immunise all of them, Dr Upreti said.

In Nepal, initially BCG and DPT vaccination started in three districts (Rupendehi, Dhanusa and Sindupalchowk) in 1979 followed by TT vaccines a year later. Measles and polio vaccines were started in 1980/81.

All the vaccines are procured by the government except the pentavalent vaccine, which has been provided by the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation. The government has planned to achieve and maintain at least 90 percent vaccination coverage by 2016 in its comprehensive multi-year immunisation plan 2011-16.

Posted on: 2011-12-14 01:21