Poor response to vaccination programmes worries Phanbuh

SHILLONG: Chairperson of Meghalaya State Commission for Women, Theilin Phanbuh, on Thursday expressed concern over the mixed response of people to the immunization programme which has been operational since 1985 with a target to provide vaccination to 2.7 crore children annually.
Addressing the regional workshop for field officers on ‘Mother and Child Health + A and Mission Indradhanush 2015-16’ organized by the Directorate of Field Publicity, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, here, she informed that the coverage of immunization has increased by only 4 per cent during the last four years, equivalent to 1 per cent per year. She also informed that there were a large number of children who could not complete all the vaccination to cover for all the seven diseases.
Phanbuh expressed concern over non-inclusion of women in the Village Council, as they could immensely contribute on matters relating to health care.
Editor, The Shillong Times, Patricia Mukhim, stressed on the need of multiple strategies and utilization of the various modes of communication to provide better health care to the people. Mukhim said use of community radio, plays and theatres are some very effective means of communication to the rural masses.
She said that she had taken up the matter with the Government of India at her personal level to impress the authorities on the need of having the community radio, as it was the most effective mode of communication particularly for the villagers. She also said that the matter could be taken up with the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting for granting license to community radio, as there is no security threat to this mode of communication.
While advocating that vernacular newspapers could act as the most effective means of communication to the villagers, Mukhim however, said that the packaging of the reading materials should be well designed to suit the readers and space of the newspapers.
Church leaders could be involved in pushing some of these issues during preaching and sermons to the audience. They could do so only when they themselves are convinced after receiving proper information at workshops and seminars, she said.
Mukhim also suggested that teachers could be involved in the implementation of schemes, as most of them have the communication skills. The writers could also do their part by getting their articles published through the newspapers because of their writing skills.
Delivering the keynote address, Director of Field Publicity, Ministry of Information and Public Relations, Engam Pame said the Ministry has initiated a new policy called ‘Special Media Campaign on Mother & Child Health and Mission Indradhanush’ since December 25, 2014.  He said its main objectives is to immunize all children with vaccines against seven preventable disease like diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, tuberculosis, hepatitis B etc. by 2020. The official also informed that the high priority districts in Meghalaya are West Khasi Hills, South Garo Hills, West Garo Hills and Jaintia Hills.

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