Children missed out on immunisation due to poor info or fear, says official
Kohima, Jan. 27 (EMN): Some children missed immunisation due to ‘information gaps’ and even due to fear of ‘adverse’ events after immunisation, says the medical superintendent of the Naga Hospital in Kohima, Dr. Visasieü Kire.
Kire addressed a workshop on the immunisation programme Intensified Mission Indradhanush IMI 2.0 (IMI), on January 27 in Kohima, organised by the Regional Outreach Bureau, ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
“The national immunisation programme which has been ongoing since 1985, has been facing a number of programmatic challenges that have prevented the country from achieving full immunisation coverage of more than 90%,” the medical superintendent said.
She said Mission Indradhanush is being conducted since 2015. “A total of 8 phases were conducted in the past five years where 3.39 crore children and 87.2 pregnant women were vaccinated.”
The official said, “Concurrent monitoring data shows that 35% of missed children is due to awareness and information gap and 26% of missed children is due to fear of AEFI, which means that 61% of missed children are not getting vaccination due to communication gaps.”
Kire asserted that the IMI 2.0 was launched in December 2019 across the country in select districts in order to scale up the immunisation coverage and then sustain it, through which health systems would be strengthened, and address ‘inequity issues’ in access to health care.
She highlighted the objectives of the IMI 2.0 that aims to improve communication, strengthen universal immunisation programmes and implement the Indradhanush.
Kire expressed hope that the awareness generation programmes that would be conducted in the eight districts of the state would reach the unreached and inform them about the benefits of vaccinating children and that fear, hesitance and doubts would be removed from their minds.
The universal immunisation programme of India is one of the largest public health programmes that protect children from 10 vaccine preventable diseases, free of cost, she added but lamented that many people are unaware about these facts.
The general secretary of the Kohima Press Club (KPC) Atono Tsükrü Kense was the guest of honour during the occasion. She told the gathering that the media have a prominent role in the dissemination of information and in creating awareness.
“As the Fourth Pillar of democracy, the media, as a backbone of any democratic country has a huge responsibility towards the society for responsible journalism with credible information and reporting keeping in mind the ethics of journalism at the core,” she said.
She said the media’s key role is to inform, criticise as well as to create platforms for debate on various issues and concerns that are confronting the society.
The journalist maintained that the media is one of the most influential driving forces of modern society by not only providing sources of information but being a mediator between the government and its people, and in being a medium of learning and information to many.
Kense reminded the gathering and particularly the journalists: “We must also remember our utmost duties as journalists to educate people by passing factual information, and not try to manipulate things.”
Kense spoke about the Health System Strengthening-Conditionality Report of States 2018-19, and lamented that Nagaland is listed among four states that had failed to meet the National Health Missions (NHM) criteria for immunisation with only 47 percent coverage.
‘What is our role as journalist or working in the media? Media channels – print, electronic, social media,’ she put on to record for the gathering to think about.
Further, she said that the media is the key player in disseminating information about immunisation, especially those living in the rural and far-flung areas.
“Unfortunately, even today in rural areas, many do not have access to proper and correct information and knowledge about the importance of immunisation and vaccination. They have all kinds of apprehensions and misconceptions which hinder the process of development. By development, I mean health care facilities,” the Journalist said.
The speaker said journalists are empowered with the tools that can facilitate and empower the population with correct information and encourage peoples’ participation in any development activities by providing information about the facilities and services that are available for them.
‘We must use this to our advantage and continue to raise our voice and educate the people about health education to create better understanding about the realities facing the population and the possible solutions and services that are available,’ she asserted.
Referring to the report of the state being listed at the bottom of the immunisation coverage chart, the journalist told the gathering: ‘As informed citizens, people must effect change both at personal and societal levels by educating the people towards access and coverage of immunisations in the rural areas.’
“There is also the need for a sustained effort between the media and the health providers to achieve the policies and programmes of the government,” Kense said.
Another speaker, P Sophie of the regional outreach bureau in Kohima said the workshop aims to carry the message of the IMI 2.0 in training the troops in creating awareness in eight districts in Nagaland namely Kiphire, Mon, Longleng, Tuensang, Zunheboto, Wokha, Peren, and Phek.
The inaugural programme was followed by a technical session with the state immunisation officer at the directorate of Health and Family Welfare Dr. Ritu Thurr, and Marykali Yepthomi a consultant for social and behaviour change communication at the UNICEF.