- India has made significant progress in its vaccination coverage to prevent child pneumonia and diarrhoea deaths, according to the latest annual Pneumonia and Diarrhoea Progress Report released by the International Vaccine Access Centre (IVAC).
- This year’s report card finds that although overall the world’s health systems are falling short of ensuring that children have access to prevention and treatment services, India has achieved the global target of 90% coverage for three of the five vaccines whose coverage is monitored in the report. These vaccines are Diphtheria, Pertussis and Tetanus (DPT) vaccine, Measles-containing-vaccine first dose, Haemophilus influenzae type B, pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV), and rotavirus vaccine.
- While India’s coverage of rotavirus vaccine increased by 18 percentage points (35% rotavirus coverage in 2018 expanded to 53% in 2019), coverage against pneumococcal pneumonia increased by 9 percentage points (6% PCV coverage in 2018 expanded to 15% in 2019).
- In 2019, India completed the “100-day agenda” — an unprecedented national scale-up of rotavirus vaccine. This landmark vaccine expansion will help protect 26 million children born each year against life-threatening cases of rotavirus diarrhoea, stated the report.
- The report tracked progress by analysing 10 indicators from the latest available data on how countries are delivering key interventions — including breastfeeding, immunisation, care-seeking and antibiotics, oral rehydration solution (ORS), and zinc supplementation — shown to prevent pneumonia and diarrhoea deaths. Of the 15 focus countries included in the report, India is one of just four countries that exceeded targets for exclusive breastfeeding.
- However, nearly every country included in the report lagged in access to treatments against pneumonia and diarrhoea. India failed to reach all four targets for treatment, the report stated, adding that the treatment for diarrhoea had the lowest coverage, with only 51% of children receiving ORS and 20% getting zinc. “Although there was progress in India in 2019, the COVID-19 pandemic threatens the hard-won gains because of disruptions caused in routine health services like immunisation and access to medical oxygen, the report stated.