1.13 crore children to be covered under Measles-Rubella Vaccination campaign

Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik flagged off Measles-Rubella (MR) vaccination campaign here on Monday.

Around 1.13 crore children of Odisha will be vaccinated under the drive that will continue till March 26.

“During the campaign, nearly 1.13 crore children in the age group of 9 months to less than 15 years will be vaccinated. After the vaccination campaign, MR vaccine will replace Measles Vaccine in the Routine Immunization programme, said a health official.

Measles and Rubella are two viral diseases, which are amongst the major causes of morbidity and mortality in children. Measles is a serious illness affecting children below 15 years of age.

Without proper management, it can lead to complications and even death. Measles vaccination is presently given under the Immunization programme, said an official.

Rubella is a viral illness and more than 90% infections seen in India are among children less than 15 years of age, the official added.

Rubella infection in early pregnancy can result in spontaneous abortion, stillbirth and serious birth defects like cataract, glaucoma, hearing impairment, heart defect, developmental delay and mental retardation.

The incidence of Rubella infection has been substantially reduced in many countries through vaccination programme.

The Measles-Rubella (MR) vaccine is being introduced in the state for the first time in the immunization programme.

During the initial two weeks of the campaign, vaccination will be done in all schools. Next two weeks, vaccination will be done at the community level and last week will be devoted to mopping up activities in low coverage areas, both in schools and the community.

For successful implementation, Health, Education, ST, SC Development, Panchayati Raj and Housing & UD Departments are closely working together.

Each department has identified a Nodal Officer for monitoring of district level activities. Development partners like WHO, UNICEF, UNDP and Professional Bodies like Indian Medical Association (IMA), Indian Association of Paediatrics (IAP) and Lions International are also supporting the campaign.

“All districts are in readiness for implementation of the campaign and IEC activities have been conducted throughout the state for generating community awareness. Additional funds of Rs. 5 crores has been sanctioned from the state budget (SAMPURNA) for effective IEC activities in the urban-rural and hard to reach areas,” said the official.

The campaign preparedness has been reviewed by the Odisha Chief Secretary twice in presence of all line Department Secretaries. Video conference with all the Collectors has been conducted twice to review the district wise preparedness.