Indian Academy of Paediatrics calls for ‘No More Pneumonia’
Mysuru: As part of World Pneumonia Day being observed on Nov. 12, a workshop will be conducted for doctors at the respective hospitals across the district to create awareness about the disease, said Paediatrician Dr. D. Narayanappa, addressing a press meet at Pathrakarthara Bhavan in city recently.
Stressing on the importance of preventing pneumonia, one of the leading causes of death amongst children under 5 years of age in the country, experts from the Mysore Chapter of the Indian Academy of Paediatrics (IAP) have endorsed the Central Government’s decision to include Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV) in the Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP) which will help India achieve one of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
Dr. G. Girish, IAP Mysore President, said “Pneumonia should not be allowed to take as many lives because we now have vaccines that can help protect millions of children from this life-threatening disease. More than 140 countries have introduced the same PCV in their immunisation programmes as India has recently done and this decision will definitely help us achieve our goal of 90% immunisation coverage by 2018. In areas where the vaccine may not yet be available under the UIP, we advise parents to consult their paediatricians about alternative solutions that can offer broad coverage.”
Commenting on the need for stronger preventive action in India’s fight against pneumonia, Dr. P. Shivu, IAP Mysore Secretary, said, “Although India’s under-5 mortality rate has reduced significantly since 2011, we still have the unfortunate tag of having the largest number of under-5 deaths in 2016 as compared to any other country in the world. Now with the inclusion of the PCV in India’s UIP, we hope we can change this and come closer to meeting the Sustainable Development Goal of reducing under-5 mortality in India.”
Under the UIP, the PCV has been introduced to cover approximately 21 lakh children in the first year, in select States, with Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) support.
IAP has focused on ways to educate parents about the disease, increase community awareness of healthy practices to reduce its risk and empower community health workers to recognise and refer possible cases of pneumonia.