Even as the Punjab government is set to achieve hundred per cent target of Measles-Rubella (MR) vaccination by 2020, only two districts out of 22 have achieved over 50 per cent target.
The two districts are Ropar and Pathankot have yet achieved the target of 65 per cent and 55 per cent, respectively, in a step further to state government’s efforts to make state MR free by 2020.
“There is a need to run extensive awareness programmes in the border districts including Ferozepur, Fazilka, Amritsar and Gurdaspur. Most of the people living in rural areas are not aware about the government’s move. Staff shortage is a major problem we are facing. The government should chalk out an effective plan to ensure its commitment for MR free state by 2020,” said an official of state health department, requesting anonymity.
Sub-regional team leader of WHO (Delhi), Dr S Srinivasan said that the MR campaign is being run in the country for the first time with an aim to make India MR free by 2020. He said, over one Lakh deaths have been caused globally due to the MR out of which one third deaths have been reported in India.
“The MR vaccination is one time campaign in India which is presently covering the Punjab and Haryana. Before it had covered 15 states and Union Territories. Efforts are being made to strengthen the campaign in Punjab,” he said.
Punjab’s Health and Family Welfare minister Brahm Mohindra has claimed that the ongoing MR vaccination campaign has crossed the coverage of 50 Lakh children across the state.
Mohindra said that the MR Vaccination campaign is intended to immunise around 73 Lakh children between the age of nine months to 15 years in the state. Mohindra has said that the state government has involved the managements of private schools in Punjab to help achieving complete coverage in their schools.
“We have instructed teachers, both from private and government schools, to play a proactive role in educating parents about need of MR vaccination and take responsibility to get all eligible children vaccinated in their respective schools,” he said.
In case any assistance is needed, the health department teams are readily available to provide any technical information and answers the queries being received from the parents of children, he said.
Mohindra stated that to further step up awareness among communities and parents and to dispel fake propaganda and rumors, the health department has decided to immediately dispatch dedicated publicity vans equipped with audio visual aids and print material to few specific districts.
These vans would display promotional messages recorded by celebrities and prominent citizens and technical experts about importance of MR vaccination, he said.