MR vaccination: Kozhikode, Malappuram lagging behind – The Hindu

KOZHIKODE: Kozhikode and Malappuram districts are at the bottom of the heap in the measles-rubella vaccination campaign, launched by the Health Department on October 3.

According to data provided by the department, of the 12,60,493 children aged between nine months and 15 years, only 2,67,330 have been covered till October 19 in Malappuram. The percentage of achievement is 21. In Kozhikode, of the targeted 7,38,694 children, only 2,03,856 have been covered till last Thursday. The percentage of achievement is 28. Pathanamthitta is on top with a coverage of 66%.

According to officials, while lack of manpower and proper planning have come in the way of the programme in Kozhikode, campaigns by vested interests, online and offline, are thwarting it in Malappuram.

“There are 420 staffers in Kozhikode district who should vaccinate the targeted children in 25 days. One person has to attend to over 70 children a day. In other districts, the figures are much lower. The target fixed by the State Advisory Group on Immunisation, without compromising on the quality of vaccination, is only 50,” said an official.

Also, it is alleged that officials are not prepared enough to handle demographic variations. “People from different religious and ideological beliefs should not be considered as a homogeneous entity. The department should have addressed their concerns and tried to convince them. Unfortunately, that is not happening in many places,” a health inspector said.

There seems to be no coordination between Health Department staffers and teachers at various schools either, as doctors are yet to reach several schools in the hinterland.

R.L. Saritha, Director, Health Services, said anti-vaccination campaign seemed to have an impact on the drive in Malappuram and Kozhikode. She, however, claimed that such campaigns had lost steam now and added that efforts were on to achieve the target of 95% coverage.

“District medical officers have been asked to hold discussions with District Collectors to sort out problems. If additional manpower is required, it will be provided. The departments of Local Self-Government and Education too will be taken into confidence,” she said.

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