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Dr. Naveen Thacker writes about a comprehensive approach for the prevention of diseases including access to new and available vaccines.

“While we should continue to be vigilant to ensure the safety of our children, it is equally important to move forward and embrace newer technologies in our health system that can help save lives.”

Dr. Naveen Thacker,  president-elect of the Asia Pacific Paediatric Association has written an article in The Pioneer on the importance of vaccines as effective preventive tools in populations that do not have access to care and treatment. A comprehensive approach to the prevention of diseases  including access to new and available vaccines, is needed in India.

As mentioned in the article,  the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation, in 2008, recommended that vaccines for Hib (Haemophilus influenza type B), the pathogen that causes pneumonia and meningitis, should be included in the Universal Immunisation Programme of India. The Government of India introduced the vaccine for Hib in the form of the Pentavalent vaccine, which provides protection against five life-threatening diseases: Diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, Hepatitis B and Hib. The DPT (diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus) and Hepatitis B vaccines were already part of the national routine immunisation programme. Protection against Hib is a new addition.Currently, nine States across India — Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Jammu & Kashmir, Haryana, Karnataka, Gujarat, Delhi, Goa and Puducherry — have included this vaccine in their immunisation programme, and many other States have shown interest.

According to Dr. Thacker,introducing a vaccine in the immunisation programme enables public health programmes to use this preventive technology to reach remote, inaccessible and poorer sections of the society who would otherwise not have access to this life-saving intervention.

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