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India launches a Virtual UN Peacekeeper’s Memorial Wall



United Nations: India has launched a virtual memorial wall to honour the UN peacekeeping heroes who died in service as the first step towards building a permanent monument at the UN headquarters.

Permanent Representative Asoke Kumar Mukerji unveiled the digital memorial wall on Friday at a reception India hosted here to honour the 125 recipients of the Dag Hammarskjold Medal awarded posthumously to peacekeepers on the International Day of UN Peacekeepers.

Two Indians were among those awarded the Dag Hammarskjold Medal at an earlier ceremony presided over by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at the UN.

They are Raju Joseph, a civilian who died while working for the UN operation in South Sudan, and Lance Naik Nand Ram, who served in the UN mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

At the Indian reception attended by defence officers from around the world in a kaleidoscope of international military ribbons, medals and uniforms, Mukerji invited them to contribute the names of their heroes to the virtual wall that is now hosted by the Indian mission at

It now has the names and details of 161 Indians who died in peacekeeping operations.

Eventually, a UN Peacekeepers’ Memorial Wall is proposed to be built at the headquarters with the names of the heroes engraved on it.

In a message to the event, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said: “India is justifiably proud of its own long and rich tradition of contribution to the UN peacekeeping operations towards the preservation of international peace and security.”

India has contributed over 180,000 troops to 44 UN missions so far. Currently, 8,112 Indian personnel drawn from the military, police and civilian ranks serve in seven UN operations.

“India has been one of the great peacekeeper contributor countries,” said the Under-Secretary General for Peacekeeping, Herve Ladsous.

Welcoming the initiative for the memorial wall, he added: “the heroes deserve our admiration for their courage.”

Under Secretary General for Field Operations, Atul Khare, who is from India, paid tribute to the Indians who gave their lives for the UN and noted that they represented more than five percent of all those who died serving the organisation.

“I am delighted with the virtual wall. The real wall will become a reality,” he said.

Mukerji said that the Security Council’s permanent members have failed to have face-to-face meetings with the troop contributing countries while designing the mandates for the operations, even though the UN charter calls for it.

The South Asian countries have highly professional military leadership and the Council could use their expertise, he added.

India, Pakistan and Bangladesh contribute the three largest contigents to the UN operations.

At another ceremony, three Indian military officers and a police officer were awarded UN Headquarters Medal for service to the world organisation at the department of peacekeeping operations.

They are Lt. Col. Bharat Sirohi, Lt. Col. Rajneesh Duseja, Lt. Col. Bharat Bhalla, and Deputy Inspector General P.S. Knegi. (IANS)

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Pentavalent vaccine: Doctors raise red flag

In spite of the data presented in this paper from a large cohort, the authors point out that the evidence is merely circumstantial and not conclusive

the new Hepatitis B vaccine for adults is called Heplisav-B.
India's PV to be reexamined because of its harmful effects. .
  • Pentavalent vaccine was introduced in India six years ago
  • It is since then have been a cause of many deaths
  • Doctors want it to be reexamined before continuing its use

Pentavalent vaccine (PV), that was introduced by India a little over six years ago, doubled the deaths of children soon after vaccination compared to the DPT (Diphtheria-Pertussis-Tetanus) vaccine, according to a new study that calls for a “rigorous review of the deaths following vaccination with PV”.

Health officials have launched a campaign targeting nearly 24 million people with a one-fifth dose of the vaccine. Wikimedia Commons
PV has been cause of many deaths in past years. Wikimedia Commons

Government records show that there were 10,612 deaths following vaccination (both PV and DPT) in the last 10 years. There was a huge increase in these numbers in 2017, which the Health Ministry has promised to study. “The present analysis could be a starting point in the quest to reduce the numbers of such deaths,” authors of the new study say.

The study by Dr Jacob Puliyel, Head of Pediatrics at St Stephens Hospital, and Dr V. Sreenivas, Professor of Biostatistics at the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), both in New Delhi, is published in the peer-reviewed Medical Journal of Dr D.Y. Patil University.

PV is a combination of the DPT vaccine and two more vaccines against Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) and hepatitis B. Starting December 2011, PV was introduced into India’s immunisation programme to replace DPT vaccine in a staged manner with a view to adding protection against Hib and Hepatitis B without increasing the number of injections given to infants.

Doctors have raised concerns over these vaccines. Wikimedia Commons
Doctors have raised concerns over these vaccines. Wikimedia Commons

But sporadic reports of unexplained deaths following immunisation with PV had been a matter of concern. Puliyel, Sreenivas and their colleagues undertook the study to find out if these deaths were merely coincidental or vaccine-induced.

The authors obtained data of all deaths reported from April 2012 to May 2016 under the Right to Information Act. Data on deaths within 72 hours of administering DPT and PV from different states were used.

For their study, the authors assumed that all deaths within 72 hours of receiving DPT are natural deaths. Using this figure as the baseline, they presumed that any increase in the number of deaths above this baseline among children receiving PV must be caused by this vaccine.

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According to their analysis of the data provided by the government, there were 237 deaths within 72 hours of administering the Pentavalent vaccine — twice the death rate among infants who received DPT vaccine.

Extrapolating the data, the authors have estimated that vaccination of 26 million children each year in India would result in 122 additional deaths within 72 hours, due to the switch from DPT to PV.

“There is likely to be 7,020 to 8,190 deaths from PV each year if data from states with the better reporting, namely Manipur and Chandigarh, are projected nationwide,” their report says.

It is important to make sure that these vaccines are reexamined peroperly. VOA

The authors note that while the study looks at the short-term increase in deaths (within three days of vaccination) it does not calculate the potential benefits of PV on infant mortality, for example by protection against lethal diseases like Haemophilus influenza.

In spite of the data presented in this paper from a large cohort, the authors point out that the evidence is merely circumstantial and not conclusive. “These findings of differential death rates between DPT and PV do call for further rigorous prospective population-based investigations,” the study concludes. IANS