With over 3.8 lakh children falling prey to pneumonia annually in the country, India tops a list of 15 countries in terms of total under-five deaths due to the disease, the government said today.
“As per the pneumonia and diarrhoea progress report 2014 of the International Vaccine Access Centre (IVAC), India tops the list of 15 countries in terms of total burden of under- five deaths due to pneumonia,” Health Minister J P Nadda told the Rajya Sabha.
In a written reply, Nadda said that as per the report of child health epidemiological reference group 2012, it is estimated that 23 per cent of all under-five child deaths are caused by pneumonia which accounts for over 3.8 lakh deaths in the country annually.
Nadda said the government has taken a decision to provide free vaccination of pneumococcal conjugate (PCV) to children.
Besides India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Angola, China, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Kenya, Sudan, Bangladesh, Niger, Chad, and Uganda comprised the 15-nation list in the IVAC report.
“The National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) has recommended introduction of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine in Universal Immunisation Programme in three doses at six weeks, 14 weeks and booster at nine months.
“The ‘mission steering group’ of national health mission has approved phased introduction of PCV. The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) has agreed to support PCV introduction by providing PCV for 20 per cent cohort for three years,” Nadda said.