“Pneumonia kills more children under five years of age in India than any other infectious disease. The pentavalent vaccine which was scaled up in all states under the UIP by 2015 protects against Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) pneumonia. Now, the introduction of PCV in the UIP will reduce child deaths from pneumococcal pneumonia. It will also reduce the number of children being hospitalized for pneumonia, and therefore reduce the economic burden on the families and the health cost burden on the country,” The Health Minister elaborated.
The Health Minister informed that the ICT-based Patient Satisfaction System (PSS) “Mera Aspataal / My Hospital” for implementation in public and empanelled private hospitals, is envisaged to empower the patient by seeking his / her views on quality of experience in a public healthcare facility. He further said that the Free Drugs Services Initiative, universal screening for non-communicable diseases for all people above 19 years to be rolled out shortly in select 100 districts in the first phase, the Free Diagnostics Services Initiative, the District Hospital Strengthening support, roll out of comprehensive primary health care, and Quality Assurance Programme – all represent initiatives intended to reduce fragmentation of care, improve quality of care and reduce out of pocket expenses.
Shri Kaul Singh Thakur, Minister of Health, Government of Himachal Pradesh, stated that PCV is a very important for children as it will provide protection cover to all the children below 5 years of age from pneumonia and meningitis. Shri Kaul thanked Shri J P Nadda for launching the PCV from Mandi Himachal Pradesh. “This vaccine will support efforts of the state government in further bringing down the child mortality,” he added.
To raise awareness about PCV, Shri Nadda also unveiled the communication material comprising TV and radio spots, posters, banners, etc. at the event. The Ministry has planned an extensive awareness campaign so that maximum number of people can avail these services.
Pneumococcal disease is the leading cause of vaccine-preventable deaths in children under five years of age globally and in India. India accounts for nearly 20% of global pneumonia deaths in this age group. In 2010, pneumococcal pneumonia accounted for approximately 16% of all severe pneumonia cases and 30% of pneumonia related deaths in children under- five years of age in India. Introducing PCV, therefore, will substantially reduce disease burden in the country.
Also present at the function were Smt. Vandana Gurnani, Joint Secretary (RCH, IEC), Shri Prabodh Saxena, Principal Secretary (Health), Govt. of Himachal Pradesh along with the other senior officers of the Health Ministry and Himachal Pradesh Government and representatives of development partners such as WHO, UNICEF, PHFI etc