Medical Technology

AP Immunize India becomes the World’s Largest and most Successful Vaccine Reminder Program

IAP-Immunize-India

On account of World Immunization Week (April 24-30), Indian Academy of Pediatrics (IAP) and Immunize India Charity came together to discuss challenges and solutions to ‘Close the Immunization Gap’ in accordance with the 2016 WHO Theme. They also highlighted milestones achieved by their joint program ‘IAP-Immunize India’ making it the largest national healthcare initiative of its kind to increase Immunization adherence and coverage across the country.

India’s Immunization coverage compared to its developed neighbors is very low. Annually, vaccine preventable diseases account for over 1.5 million deaths and about 1 million disabilities in children below 5 years in India. It is important to administer vaccinations for the top life-threatening vaccine preventable diseases in India such IAP-Immunize-Indiaas Pneumonia, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, rotavirus, polio, tuberculosis, measles and hepatitis B.

Commenting on the concerns of low Immunization rate in India, Dr. Pramod Jog, National IAP President said, “In India, the percentage of children between 12–23 months of age who received all recommended vaccines on time is just 51.6%. A major reason is that parents do not maintain a vaccination calendar and often forget to vaccinate the child on time in a disciplined manner. This default is observed in both urban and rural areas. 14% of infants who come in contact with immunization services to receive their BCG Vaccine do not receive their measles vaccine scheduled at 9 months.  Many children below 5 years do not receive regular pneumococcal vaccines. These lapses are responsible for increased rates of child morbidity and mortality in India which can definitely be avoided.”

Prompted by distressed parents’ dilemma of delayed or missed immunization for their children, Immunize India Charity conceived the Vaccine reminder program and partnered with IAP to launch ‘IAP Immunize India’ in March 2014. IAP-Immunize India is a free-of-cost SMS based vaccination reminder service which is nationally available across all mobile networks in India. Since almost every adult in urban and rural areas have mobile phones, the SMS reminder service is the most cost effective reminder method that a vaccination is due.

Dr. Uday Pai, Past IAP Mumbai President and Consultant Pediatrician, AANGAN, Chembur, Mumbai said, “Immunization is one of the most successful and cost effective means to help children grow into healthy adults. No child should be denied the right to immunization for unfair reasons, including economic or social causes. In Mumbai, IAP Immunize India has increased immunization coverage and reduced vaccine preventable deaths among children below 5 years. The city (Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Kalyan) recorded 1,12,000registrations which means that an estimated 35,000 additional vaccinations are happening that would have otherwise been missed.”

Highlighting the success of IAP Immunize India, Dr Ranjan Kumar Pejaver, Founder & Principal Trustee, Immunize India Charity said, “Vaccination reminder services have been effective in several countries in increasing immunization compliance by 20%. As of 31st March 2016, IAP Immunize India has received more than 1 million registrations (100,05,000) across India which has contributed greatly toincreased compliance. An additional 300,000 vaccinations are happening which would have normally been missed. Our program won several notable national and global awards, recognitions and requests. The Indian Government also has come forward to register and utilize this alert service at their Institutions. The University of Kentucky, USA approached us to implement a pilot program. Observing a 48% increase in immunization compliance, they now want to extend to Kentucky State with a grant from American Academy of Pediatrics.”

Commenting on the concerns of low Immunization rate in India, Dr. Pramod Jog, National IAP President said, “In India, the percentage of children between 12–23 months of age who received all recommended vaccines on time is just 51.6%. A major reason is that parents do not maintain a vaccination calendar and often forget to vaccinate the child on time in a disciplined manner. This default is observed in both urban and rural areas. 14% of infants who come in contact with immunization services to receive their BCG Vaccine do not receive their measles vaccine scheduled at 9 months.  Many children below 5 years do not receive regular pneumococcal vaccines. These lapses are responsible for increased rates of child morbidity and mortality in India which can definitely be avoided.”

The IAP Immunize India campaign aims to Increase the immunization coverage in India by creating awareness of its program usingmedia and seeking co-operation from allied organizations such as obstetric, midwifery, nursing and other medical associations. Software upgrades, development of Apps and Audio Visuals is another goal for us to enable multi-lingual SMSs and better access to our program. Immunize India Charity is also keen to provide the expertise needed to implement the program in interested countries wishing to improve immunization coverage. ‘IAP Immunize India’ messaging costs are supported by its telecom partner Vodafone and its field promotion is supported by an education grant from Pfizer.

 

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