Tuesday March 20, 2018

India launches its first Rota Virus vaccine

Image source: www.babycenter.com

Bhubaneshwar: Aiming to slash the prevalence of violence-borne diarrhoea, the health ministry on Saturday launched the Rota Virus vaccine here, which will be available free of cost at public healthcare facilities, initially in four states.

Terming the occasion historic in the Indian health system, Health Minister J.P. Nadda said: “This is not a routine programme. This Rota virus launch sets the goal in the field of Indian health system. By launching this, we aim to immunise 27 million children across the country to prevent diseases caused by Rota virus.”

Rota is a highly contagious virus that infects majority of children before their first birthday. It is the most common cause of severe diarrhoea among children, leading to hospitalisation and death.

Nadda said that the government was aggressively working for the eradication of a slew of other diseases, including leprosy and TB.

“It is our duty to see that every child born in the country born is immunised against dreaded diseases,” he said.

The National Technical Advisory Group on vaccines had recommended the phased introduction of Rota virus vaccine in the country’s Universal Immunisation Programme.

In the first phase, Rota virus vaccine will be introduced in four States — Odisha, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Andhra Pradesh. It will be provided at government health facilities to children from six weeks of age.

The vaccine was launched in Odisha as the state records high diarrhoea cases among children and deaths due to improper treatment.

“We are making appropriate investment, and this has been possible because we have an effective healthcare system with more and more facilities capable of providing the vaccine to the needy children,” said Health Ministry Additional Secretary C.K. Mishra.

Currently, 9.2 percent of Odisha’s total disease burdens consists of diarrhoea patients.

The infant mortality rate in Odisha is 51 per 1,000 live births, while the mortality rate of children under five years is 68 per 1,000 births, both far higher than in the other states where the Rota virus vaccine was launched in the first phase on Saturday.

The diarrhoea burden due to Rota virus in Andhra Pradesh stands at eight percent while the figure in Haryana and Himachal Pradesh is 8.5 percent and 5.5 percent respectively.

Globally there are 453,000 child deaths due to Rota virus every year. In India, Rota Virus diarrhoea causes about 78,000 deaths and about 8.7 lakh hospitalisations each year. Additionally, 32.7 lakh children under five years of age are treated as outpatients.

Credits: IANS

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Twitter India steps in to bridge blood donation gap

Twitter said it will also amplify the real-time communication efforts of the handle with verification, promotion on Twitter, and use Twitter Lite to connect the helpline with people across the entire country

Twitter to soon release Snapchat like feature. VOA
Twitter starts the initiative #BloodMatters. VOA
  • Twitter starts a new initiative #BloodMatters
  • This initiative is to create more awareness blood donation and its need in India
  • The step is being applauded and supported by the government as well

Aiming to create more awareness and bridge the demand-supply gap for blood units in India, Twitter India on Tuesday launched a new social initiative called #BloodMatters.

According to a report by the World Health Organisation, only nine million blood units are available annually in India, against a demand of 12 million units. Blood Donors India (@BloodDonorsIN), a voluntary blood donation helpline on Twitter, is the first partner for the Twitter initiative. Through this initiative, Twitter said it seeks to work with more blood donation helplines like @BloodDonorsIN, blood banks, and health institutions across the country to connect and reach a larger audience.

Twitter has launched three types of APIs to facilitate this.
This step will help bridge the blood donation gap in India.

“The platform aims to scale up the volume of blood donation conversation in India, the number of donors, and work with partners that can ensure safe, screened blood can reach those in need in time across India,” Twitter India said in a statement.

With this initiative, people can request for blood donation simply with a tweet to @BloodDonorsIN with their location hashtag, blood type, mobile contact and Twitter handle. People interested to help can follow @BloodDonorsIN and respond or retweet requests for help.

Responding to the initiative in a tweet, Union Health Minister J.P. Nadda said: “I am happy to see Twitter take up this cause to strengthen the overall health and well-being of the country with the #BloodMatters initiative. This will play a powerful role in mobilising resources and strengthening the blood donation drive in India.”

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This will benefit several people and is also supported by the government. Pixabay

With the new initiative, launched ahead of its 12th birth anniversary on Wednesday, Twitter is expanding the reach of the @BloodDonorsIN helpline through Twitter Lite, which provides more data-friendly access to real-time information exchange on blood donations across India.

Twitter will be supporting the implementation of an automated response solution to scale the operations of @BloodDonorsIN, currently run by a group of volunteers.

Twitter said it will also amplify the real-time communication efforts of the handle with verification, promotion on Twitter, and use Twitter Lite to connect the helpline with people across the entire country, from the metros to rural India.

There is a lot of gap between blood demand and supply in India. Pixabay

“Giving back has been a priority for Twitter since its inception and we believe the open exchange of information can be a compelling force for good in the world. #BloodMatters is a step in that direction,” Mahima Kaul, Head Public Policy, Twitter India, said in a statement.

“We are humbled to kickstart the initiative with @BloodDonorsIN, a handle that symbolises our mission of positively impacting the world by harnessing the real-time power of Twitter and hope to make a larger impact by extending its reach through Twitter Lite,” Kaul added. IANS