Rotavirus vaccine is used to protect against rotavirus infections, which cause severe diarrhea among young children.
Union Health Minister J.P. Nadda on Saturday, February 18, 2017, launched Rotavirus vaccination for five more states in the country to immunize children against diarrhea, one of the major causes of child deaths in India.
Nadda, accompanied by Tripura Health Minister Badal Choudhury, launched the Rotavirus vaccination for Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Tripura.
He said, "Rotavirus diarrhea can also lead to dehydration, malnutrition and delayed physical and mental development in children. Rotavirus vaccination would help in reducing the infant mortality rate."
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given instructions to the central ministers to give top focus to the eastern and northeastern part of India, as these regions got less attention in various aspects earlier, the union minister added.
Nadda, who came here on Saturday from New Delhi, said that diarrhea is one of the biggest killers of children and rotavirus is one of the most common causes of severe diarrhea in children less than five years of age.
He said, "The government is also committed to increasing full immunization coverage and ensuring that the benefit of the life-saving vaccines is provided to every child in every part of India."
The minister urged the states to "successfully roll out of the mission Indradhanush, which has already created a significant impact across the country."
In March 2016, the Rotavirus vaccine was first introduced in four states - Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha. So far, about 38 lakh children have been vaccinated with Rotavirus in these four states.
Additional Secretary of Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry Sanjeeva Kumar said: "Currently in India, one of the main cause of deaths is diarrhoea in children under the age of five years. Globally, diarrhoea is responsible for 576,000 child deaths every year."
He said that the fourth phase of mission Indradhanush was launched in northeastern states - Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura - on February 7, 2017, and would be rolled out in the remaining part of the country in April.
Terming the introduction and now scale-up of Rotavirus vaccine in India as a momentous initiative of the government to build a strong foundation for a healthy nation, Sanjeeva Kumar said, "All children are at risk of Rotavirus infection, irrespective of their socio-economic status. The Rotavirus vaccine would be provided free of cost at all government health facilities."
He said that the universal immunization program provides life-saving vaccines to all children across the country free of cost to protect them against Tuberculosis, Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus, Polio, Hepatitis B, Pneumonia and Meningitis due to Hemophilus Influenzae type b (Hib), Measles, Rubella, Japanese Encephalitis and Rotavirus diarrhea.
Tripura health minister Badal Choudhury said that the state government has been implementing all health related schemes of the central government with full sincerity.
"The central government must come forward in helping the state to prevent cancer and other dreaded diseases in the northeastern states," he added.