A new mobile service that will alert parents about the immunization schedule of their children through a text message has been launched on Thursday by The Indian Academy of Paediatrics.
The service was launched by the IAP, an association of child specialists in India, in collaboration with telecommunications company Vodafone.
The world's largest vaccination reminder service aims to prevent 500,000 child deaths and disabilities by 2018, C.K. Mishra, additional secretary in the union health ministry said at the launch.
The reminder service will be available free of cost for parents across the country and they can opt for the service by sending a text message to the national code 566778 from any mobile network in India.
The parents will receive immediate confirmation through a text message and will be reminded for 12 years, the prescribed immunisation schedule for their child. A total of three reminders would be sent, at two-day intervals, for each vaccination due.
Vijay N. Yewale, president, IAP said: "Today almost two million children under the age of five years die every year in India and another one million or more are disabled for life. Vaccination reminder services in several countries have been effective in increasing compliance by 20 percent".
Rohit Adya, external affairs director, Vodafone India, said: "Vodafone recognises the power of mobile technology to address some of India's most pressing challenges. Our partnership with the IAP is in line with this commitment and we will play our due role to facilitate creating a healthier future for our children".
Mishra said: "It will be a sad story if India is not able to stop vaccine preventable diseases".