The Principal Secretary to Government, Health and Medical Education Department, Dr Pawan Kotwal, Saturday held a meeting of the State Task Force on Immunization (STFI) and the State Operation Group (SOG) to review the progress and concerns regarding the Measles-Rubella Vaccination Campaign 2018 underway across the State.
Dr Kotwal said the Governor’s administration is keen to see the entire population of 37,72,960 children aged between 9 months and 15 years in the State covered under the immunization programme launched in the State as part of the Government of India’s commitment to the South East Asia Regional Committee resolution of 2013 calling for elimination of Measles and control of Rubella by 2020.
He said the immunization programme is aimed at preventing children from catching these highly infectious and potentially fatal viral diseases. He called on the civil society, religious heads and teachers to help spread awareness among the masses about it and contribute to the larger aim of eradicating these diseases.
The Principal Secretary said the government has roped in several well-known personalities including sporting stars like Irfan Pathan, Parvez Rasool, and Tajamul Islam as ambassadors to create mass awareness about the immunization campaign and importance of administering the vaccination to all eligible children.
The meeting was informed that mobile and special teams have been constituted for vaccination in high-risk and hard-to-reach areas, adding that division and district control rooms have been established in both the divisions to monitor the day-to-day activities to give feedback to the STFI and the SOG.
It was also informed that all PHCs will have Adverse Events Following Immunization (AEFI) centres equipped with treatment kits, evaluation, and resuscitation equipment as per the guidelines of MHFW GoI in order to ensure control and management in the event of adverse events which is highly unlikely.
The vaccination programme is likely to be launched in mid-September. It includes three weeks of intensive vaccination in schools followed by two weeks of outreach and sweeping services. 80 percent of the targeted population is school-going and as such the schools shall receive the maximum attention. Some 6062 trained vaccinators from the Health Department will be involved in administering the vaccination to eligible children at 29,382 schools across the State.
The campaign will be held at schools (government as well as private) including those for the specially-abled children and non-conventional educational institutions like madrassas, darul ulooms and monasteries. It will not include House-To-House (or HTH) vaccination.
Heads of medical colleges, senior professors and doctors, officers from the Health Department, concerned representatives from WHO besides Additional Transport Commissioner Kashmir, Joint Director Information Kashmir, and President J&K Private Schools Association were present in the meeting.