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Centre starts Pentavalent Vaccine programme in high-risk areas

With an aim to expand and promote the reach of vaccination, the Union Government has kicked off its four-week special immunization programme in high-risk areas across the nation. The vaccines are being provided free of cost aimed at reaching every child.

  • Full immunization prevents approximately 4 lakh deaths from vaccine preventable diseases in the under-five category every year.
  • Close to 75 lakh children miss childhood vaccinations each year.
  • On a global scale, every fifth child is not immunized.

What is Pentavalent Vaccine?

India had introduced the Pentavalent vaccine expansion in 2011 in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. It has now expanded to some other states as well.

Pentavalent vaccine is given to protect children from five diseases:

  1. Hib pneumonia and Hib meningitis (Hib = Haemophilus influenzae type b)
  2. Diphtheria
  3. Pertussis
  4. Tetanus
  5. Hepatitis B

 India’s Immunization Programme:

Government of India has been running Universal Immunization Programme since 1985 which is currently one of the key areas under National Rural Health Mission (NRHM)since 2005. The program consists of vaccination for seven diseases:

  1. Tuberculosis
  2. Diphtheria
  3. Pertussis (whooping cough)
  4. Tetanus
  5. Poliomyelitis
  6. Measles
  7. Hepatitis B

India had declared year 2012-13 as the ‘Year of Intensification of Routine Immunization’.

Objective of this campaign: To improve full immunization coverage and reach all children, particularly in remote, inaccessible and backward areas as well as in urban slums. The present full immunization coverage of children is 61%.

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Union Cabinet’s approves the launch of NUHM as a sub-mission under the National Health Mission (NHM)

The National Urban Health Mission (NUHM) will be launched as a new sub-mission under the extensive National Health Mission (NHM), as approved by the Union Cabinet. The Union Cabinet had already approved the continuation of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) and the other sub-mission under NHM till 2017.

Focus of NUHM: Primary health care needs of the urban poor.

Key proposals approved under NUHM scheme:

  • One Urban Primary Health Centre (U-PHC) for every fifty to sixty thousand population.
  • One Urban Community Health Centre (U-CHC) for five to six U-PHCs in big cities.
  • One Auxiliary Nursing Midwives (ANM) for 10,000 population.
  • One Accredited Social Health Activist ASHA (community link worker) for 200 to 500 households.

Cost and Coverage

  • Estimate Cost of NUHM for 5 years: Rs.22,507
  • Centre-State funding ration: 75:25 (except for North Eastern states and other special category states of Jammu and  Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand for whom the funding pattern will be 90:10)
  • To be implemented in 779 cities and towns with more than 50,000 population and will cover about 7.75 crore people.

Expected positive impact:

  • Reduction in Infant Mortality Rate (IMR)
  • Reduction in Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR)
  • Universal access to reproductive health care
  • Convergence of all health related interventions.

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Expert committee: “exact co-relation between radiation of communication towers and health of wildlife is so far not established”

In August 2010 an expert committee under the chairmanship of Dr. Asad Rahmani (Director Bombay Natural Society) was constituted by Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) to study the probable effects of communication towers on wildlife including Birds and Bees.

The Expert committee submitted it report to the MoEF. The key findings of the report were as follows:

  • The report confirmed that the EMRs (Electro-Magnetic Radiations) from the mobile phone and communication towers have an adverse effect on the health of human beings.
  • The precise co-relation between EMR and health of wildlife is so far not established.
  • Albeit existent literature describes undesirable effects of EMR on the biological systems of living beings, more research is called for to evaluate the proper affects of EMR on free-living floral and faunal species, including birds and bees in India.

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