Concentrate of adolescent immunisation, lower child mortality: Experts

New Delhi, Nov 16 : There is a need for the government to concentrate on providing adolescent immunisation and healthcare if it wants to bring down the child mortality rate in the country, child specialists said here Saturday.

Adolescents are teenagers between 13 to 19 years old.

According to a paediatrician, adolescent immunisation should pertain not only to at the time of pregnancy, but be carried out on a regular basis.

"As per the National Health Family Survey (NHFS), 53 percent of girls in our country get married before they turn 18 years, and with it comes various delivery-related problems. Pre-mature and low weight child being born are the major ones, so it is important that government concentrate on adolescent healthcare and immunisation," C.P. Bansal, national president of the Indian Academy of Paediatrics (IAP) told IANS.

"Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, which prevents the development of cervical cancer, the tetatnus and pertussis vaccine and second boosters of vaccines that prevent diseases like measles and chicken pox need to be made a part of the national immunisation schedule for the adolescent," Bansal said.

To address the issue and as a part of the golden jubilee celebrations, the academy has launched the "Mission Kishore Uday" programme in 50 cities across the country.

"It is a unique adolescent health programme for paediatricians, parents, teachers and adolescents themselves. The paediatrician will deal with health issues, parents and teachers will learn about handling adolescents with empathy and care," Ashok Rai, vice president, IAP told IANS.

The IAP has also launched programmes like Mission Uday to bring down the child mortality rate in the country through extensive training of birth attendants and untrained paramedical staff.

"As child mortality rates are higher in rural areas, where the people do not have access to new technology, we have trained around two lakh birth attendants and untrained paramedics," Rai said.

IAP is also holding a conference with the paediatric association of SAARC nations Sunday to discuss interventions to prevent child mortality.

IAP was established in 1963 and is an association with over 23,000 members across the country, and a presence in 26 states and 303 districts, with city-level branches.

--IANS (Posted on 16-11-2013)

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