India shows improvement in pneumonia and diarrhoea control, shows report
New Delhi: In good news for a country with a dismal record in terms of communicable and non-communicable diseases, the Pneumonia and Diarrhoea Progress Report 2017 released by the International Vaccine Access Centre (IVAC), Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health on Friday said India has shown the largest positive change among 15 high-burden countries (for pneumonia and diarrhoea).
India’s Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Pneumonia and Diarrhoea (GAPPD) score has seen a 7-point increase.
The researchers claimed that the progress was largely due to increase in measles vaccine coverage by 1%, haemophilus influenzae type B vaccine by 35%, 3 doses of diphtheria tetanus and pertussis vaccine (DTP3) by 1%, and rotavirus vaccine (RVV) by 4%.
In India, these percentages translate to a substantial increase in the number of vaccinated children, the report said.
India began a phased introduction of rotavirus vaccine in 2016 (introduced in nine states so far) and pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) to prevent pneumonia in 2017 (introduced in 3 states so far). Besides, exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of an infant’s life protects infants from pneumonia and diarrhoea.
The report also highlighted that India could save over $1 billion every year in economic benefits and avert more than 90,000 needless child deaths a year by introducing and scaling up coverage of vaccination programs targeting pneumonia and diarrhoea.
“India had the highest percentage of children less than five years of age with suspected pneumonia taken to an appropriate healthcare provider (77%). Although children less than five with diarrhoea receiving Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) treatment was low (34%),” the report said.
IVAC identified the 15 countries with the greatest number of deaths from pneumonia and diarrhoea among children under 5 years of age. These countries house 55% of the world’s under-5 population, but account for approximately 70% of the world’s childhood diarrhoea and pneumonia deaths.
IVAC used a scoring method based on the integrated GAPPD developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF. A country’s “GAPPD score” measures the use of interventions that protect against, prevent and treat pneumonia and diarrhoea. The higher the score, the more the interventions being used.