The Indian Academy of Pediatrics (IAP) and Immunize India Charity came together to discuss challenges and solutions to ‘Close the Immunization Gap’ in line with the 2016 WHO theme on account of the World Immunization Week (April 24 to 30). They also highlighted achievements of their joint programme ‘IAP-Immunizeindia’, which has emerged the largest national healthcare initiative of its kind to increase immunisation adherence and coverage across the country. Even the Indian Government has come forward to register and utilise this alert service at its institutions
In March 2014, Immunize India Charity partnered with IAP to launch ‘IAP-Immunizeindia’, which is a free-of-cost SMS-based vaccination reminder service available across all mobile networks in India. The SMS reminder service is the most cost-effective reminder method due to the high usage of mobile phones among Indians.
This service has been effective in several countries in increasing immunisation compliance by 20%. As of 31st March 2016, IAP-Immunizeindia has received more than 1 million registrations across India. Moreover, an additional 300,000 vaccinations are being conducted that would have normally been missed.
It is important to administer vaccinations for the top life-threatening vaccine-preventable diseases due to India’s low immunisation coverage, as well as over 1.5 million deaths and about 1 million disabilities in children below 5 years due to these diseases annually.
Overall, just 51.6% of children between 12 and 23 months of age have received all recommended vaccines on time in India. This is primarily due to non-maintenance of a vaccination calendar by parents and an undisciplined manner of vaccinating children in both urban and rural areas. This and other lapses are responsible for increased rates of avoidable child morbidity and mortality in India.
The campaign aims to increase the immunisation coverage in India by creating awareness of its programme through media and seeking cooperation from allied organisations. Software upgrades, development of apps and audio visuals are other goals to enable multilingual SMSs and better access.