by The Welthi Bureau
UNICEF, WHO Country Office, Center for disease Control – USA and TS Health Department along with leading Paediatricians, Religious Leaders and school management came together on one single platform through a panel discussion which was organised by city based NGO, Helping Hand Foundation, to clarify the rumours and myths around MR vaccination doing rounds in the old city segment.
Speaking at a Panel Discussion on ‘Debugging Myths of Measles – Rubella’ vaccination organized by the Helping Hand Foundation in association with State Government at Media Plus Auditorium, Dr. Sanjeev Upadhay, Head UNICEF (TS) observed that India is already lagging in the race to wipe out the disease when compared to other countries.
He appreciated the government’s efforts to combat such diseases but observed ‘collective effort is wipe out disease completely. “Nearly 3 years ago, we have eliminated polio from grass root level because we worked collectively.”
The panel discussion was organized to create awareness about the government’s immunization drive and floor associated rumours, particularly in certain areas of old Hyderabad. Speaking on the occasion, Dr. G. Sudheera, Program Officer, Health Immunization said “the resistance towards Rubella Measles vaccination here is detrimental.” There is peculiar resistance to immunization in these areas. “Of the target 9,49,605 children in Telangana, only 4,01,585 have been vaccinated. The immunization program has also been ineffective in certain schools where staff carried away by these rumours has tendered ‘frank refusals’ or hindered the in-school immunization drive”, she said.
In Hyderabad, out of the 3639 schools so far 2090 schools have been covered and 120 schools in old city area have sent refusal letters to comply with the vaccination – In about 20 – 30 % of these 2000 odd schools nearly 60% of the children have refused vaccination in the old city area, she said.
Dr. Imaduddin, Paediatrician – Esra Hospital says “the immunization drive is mandatory for children between 9 months to 15 years of age, and will help not only help combat the disease but also safeguard their future generations”.
The vaccine has already been administered to nearly 5 crore people in South India, with one crore vaccinations done in Andhra Pradesh state, and no complications have been reported so far. “The vaccination will help the generations to come, and the temporary fever in certain cases must be overlooked.”
Mufti Mahmood Zubair Qasmi, Secretary Jamiat-ul Ulema e Hind, TS & AP appealed “the uprising rumours about vaccination is a conspiracy against the citizens of old city of Hyderabad.” He urged the mothers and parents of children to “cooperate in this vaccination drive and help eliminate Measles.”
She urged the schools and parents to cooperate in eliminating the disease completely, and encourage students to get immunized.
Mr. Mujtaba Hasan Askari, President of Helping Hand Foundation, which volunteers at many government said “We have been getting round the clock feedback from our patient counsellors attached to government hospitals from the past 10 days on the myths surrounding MR Vaccination in the city and we though it prudent to get all the key stake holders on one platform to dispel the myths around the vaccination.
The meeting was also attended by TS, Dr. Ashish – Regional Head, WHO for South India, Dr. Puttaraju, WHO Country office, Hyderabad, Dr Mujeeb Sayeed, WHO Country Officer, Dr. Neetu Abad, Behavioural Scientist with Centre for Disease Control (CDC), USA. and Principals of Schools in old city area where there was 100% compliance.
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