This finding emphasizes the importance of vaccinations in children like never before. That children should die from highly preventable diseases should be a matter of grave concern for the health authorities and for the general populace as well.
The ironic part is that the prevention of these diseases is very simple and it is available free of cost at Government hospitals and Primary Health Centres around the country. This might mean that the information regarding the dangers that these diseases pose to children and the methods of their prevention is still not effectively percolating through the social strata.
What does a Vaccine Do?
Vaccines give life-long protection against diseases. Some vaccines
Did You Know?
Vaccines are made from bacteria or viruses which actually cause the disease.
But these are treated in such a way that they themselves have lost the ability to cause the disease; they simply activate our immune system to fight such organisms, should they enter our body through natural means in the future.
require a single dose (e.g., BCG, for Tuberculosis), while some require more than one dose (boosters; e.g., OPV for Polio).
The important vaccines in the schedule given by the
- My parents have sufficient funds for meeting medical emergencies. Why do they need a health insurance?
- BCG - Short for Bacillus of Calmette and Guerin. These two gentlemen created a docile vaccine preparation to counter the deadlier Tuberculosis. Has to be given once, immediately after birth. It creates a permanent scar on the shoulder, where it is injected.
- Hepatitis B - Virus causes inflammation of liver. Can be fatal. First dose given at birth and then followed up with a couple of boosters.
- Polio - Given in two forms, oral (OPV) and injectable (IPV). Will need to be given to children for a couple of years more, although the disease has been officially eradicated.
- DTP - Popularly known as "Triple." Protects against Diptheria, Tetanus and Pertussis (whooping cough). Multiple doses are required.
- Hib - For protection against a bacterium called Hemophilus influenzae. The bacterium causes a severe form of pneumonia and a deadly disease called meningitis
- Rotavirus - The virus causes gastroenteritis which can be severe.
- MMR - For measles, mumps and rubella (German measles).
- PPSV23 Protects from 23 different pneumococcal bacteria causing many severe infections of the ear, brain covering (meningitis), pneumonia and bloodstream.
- HPV - Protects from papilloma viral infections which can cause cervical cancers in females and also genital warts.
- Varicella - Protects from chickenpox.
Polio: A Success Story for India
India has demonstrated that it can run an effective mass immunization program to eradicate one of the most debilitating diseases of our times - Polio. With extensive coverage on the media involving highly popular ambassadors and mass reach, India was successful in finally getting relieved from the burden of Polio. The next step would be to target other such diseases through a mass immunization drive.
The Way Ahead:
Government and non-governmental agencies (like IAP) constantly review the state of infectious diseases in the country and suggest amendments to the schedule. As caring parents, it is our responsibility to give the gift of good health to our children by vaccinating them from the harmful infectious diseases.