Lauding countries such as India for their work towards saving lives through immunisation, including during public health emergencies, the World Health Organisation (WHO) Tuesday asked nations falling under its South-East Asia Region to further accelerate efforts to reach the nearly five million unvaccinated children.
The WHO South-East Asia Region records about 37 million births annually, of them over 88 per cent children are now getting three doses of diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus (DPT) vaccines per annum, an indicator of basic vaccination coverage, the global health body said.
“It is critical to identify who are missing vaccination and reach them with lifesaving vaccines. Equity and improving vaccination coverage is the key to preventing resurgence of diseases, especially the ones eradicated with painstaking efforts, and for further reducing diseases and deaths among children,” said Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director WHO South-East Asia.
, while inaugurating a 3-day meeting of Immunization Technical Advisory Group.
Besides India, the region comprises Bangladesh, Bhutan, South Korea, Indonesia, the Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Timor-Leste. She said mapping hard-to-reach areas and population, addressing social and cultural and other barriers for them to access immunisation services, and closely monitoring these activities for progress, should be among our immediate priorities.
The World Health Organisation said many countries are making impressive efforts. It named India’s Mission Indradhanush focusing on 190 districts, Indonesia’s intensified drive in 80 districts, Myanmar’s urban immunisation intensification targeting 29 townships, Nepal’s efforts to achieve full-immunisation at sub-district level and Timor Leste’s community outreach and twinning programme with Sri Lanka for capacity building of vaccination programme officials.