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Tuesday, Oct 15, 2019

Measles and Rubella: Only 37% beneficiaries get vaccinated in Malegaon

Due to poor response to the drive in Malegaon, the state government has extended the drive from January 15 to January 31.

pune Updated: Jan 03, 2019 15:00 IST
Nozia Sayyed
Nozia Sayyed
Hindustan Times, Pune
Parents whose children were vaccinated are seen being felicitated by the officials.
Parents whose children were vaccinated are seen being felicitated by the officials. (HT PHOTO )

The measles and rubella vaccination campaign (MRC) undertaken by the state government is facing severe resistance from the residents of Malegaon, which is predominantly a Muslim populated district. The drive will end on January 15 this year.

The state has observed that Malegaon has emerged as the worst performer as compared to others in the state, as it has vaccinated only a 37 per cent of its targeted beneficiaries since November 27, 2018, while many have even covered their targets and maximum have even covered more than 90 per cent of their beneficiaries. 

Dr MAH Azhar, the surveillance medical officer of World Health Organisation (WHO) said, “Now, given the resistance from the residents, the state has even chosen to give Malegaon another chance and extend their date from January 15 to January 31.”

“In Malegaon so far only 37 per cent of the beneficiaries have been vaccinated which makes Malegaon the poorest performer as compared to other districts,” said Dr Archana Patil, joint director health services and head of family welfare bureau, Maharashtra. He said, “The response in Malegaon is the lowest and it has been extremely challenging for us to convince the population there to vaccinate their kids.” 

Whereas data shared by Dr Pradeep Vyas, principal secretary, health ministry, Maharashtra stated that Latur has become the first district to achieve 100 per cent target even before January 15. “In fact, in Latur we were supposed to vaccinate 4,21,524 kids, but 4,31,123 children have been vaccinated so far,” said Vyas. 

Patil said that it is happening for the first time that state officials along with the state health minister are forced to visit a city to convince the residents about the importance of vaccination and its benefits. 

Meanwhile, Dr Deepak Sawant, the state health minister said, “I met people and heard their grievances and their fears related to the vaccination. However, I shared with them that I vaccinated my own grandson and how it is totally safe. We are going out of the way to convince the people in Malegaon so that every child is vaccinated.” 

Besides this, the meeting which was held by the minister along with the state health officials on Monday (December 31), was well attended by the religious leaders, muftis, maulanas, ulemas, madrasas, school teachers, physicians and parents among others. “The response we received for the meeting was good. During the meeting, we also felicitated those who chose to vaccinate their children so that others are encouraged to vaccinate their own kids.” 

While sharing the reasons which people gave for not vaccinating their children, Patil said, “People fear deaths due to vaccination, some claimed that vaccination is not allowed according to their religion, they also claimed that it may lead to impotency in children. Many even showed a lack of trust in the government, where they claimed that the government must improve other facilities like employment and transport among others and then focus on health care.” 

Other reasons why residents are not vaccinating their children, Patil said, “Malegaon residents think MRC is a conspiracy by the Israel and US, where they are using the same syringes for multiple children, so there is a fear of adverse effects post vaccination. Also, there are rumours on the social media about deaths due to the vaccine.” 

“In fact, many are even skipping schools fearing the vaccination. However, post the meeting held in Malegaon, we have now come up with some major decisions that were also agreed by the religious leaders like—making an announcement about MR campaign in detail on every Friday, where religious leaders will also participate along with local doctors. Also, regular briefings will be held about the challenges and achievements about the campaign,” said Patil. 

Quick facts

Total number of beneficiaries vaccinated so far in the state—2.32 crore out of 3.10 crore 

Highest performer Latur, where target achieved is not 100 but 102 per cent; the total target was to vaccinate 4,21,524 but the officials vaccinated 4,31,123—shared Dr Vyas 

In Malegaon, targeted beneficiaries are 1.93 lakh and so far 76,000 have been vaccinated since November 27.

First Published: Jan 03, 2019 15:00 IST

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