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JE vaccination in Dmu, Mkg, over 1.6 lakh children (1 - 15 years) vaccinated

(Left) Dimapur district programme officer & district malaria Officer Dr. Imcha Jamir with official from Delhi monitoring the JE vacinnation campaign at Holy Cross Higher Secondary School. (NP)
Staff Reporter DIMAPUR, OCT 15 (NPN):
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Published on 16 Oct. 2010 5:32 PM IST
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Altogether 1, 60, 163 children between the age group of 1 to 15 were vaccinated against Japanese encephalitis (JE) in the districts of Dimapur (1, 27, 045) and Mokokchung (33,118) during the ten-day vaccination camp, which began October 4.
In Dimapur and Mokokchung, the vaccination period was extended by one day to October 14 to provide more access to children, crossing the targeted group, i.e 33% of the total population in Dimapur.
According to Delhi-based NGO, which was on a visit to Dimapur to monitor the vaccination campaign, Nagaland is the first state in Northeast to have conducted the JE vaccination while Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur have yet to start the campaign.
A member of the NGO expressed satisfaction that vaccination drive was conducted successfully in Dimapur. District immunization officer Dr. R. Chielie informed that government of India had declared that JE vaccination would be integrated into a routine immunization for children within six months’ time.
Interacting with this Reporter, Dimapur district programme officer & district malaria Officer Dr. Imcha said though the campaign was hectic, the department successfully conducted the vaccination drive and the response was overwhelming.
Dr. Imcha disclosed he had to enlighten about JE through lectures at prominent schools since most of the parents were skeptical about the JE vaccination. He said initially parents resisted against allowing their children to be vaccinated and only relented after they were convinced it has no side effects.
“Most of the negative remarks and suspicious questions came from those educated persons who questioned the doctors and nurses on the usage of syringes and whether JE vaccination on children in Nagaland were being done for experimental purpose”, said Dr. Imcha.
Dr. Imcha explained that the syringe used was called “Auto Disable Syringe”, that gets locked automatically after use, so there was no way by which it could be used twice.
He said numerous questions raised indicated that people were ignorant about JE and felt there was urgent need to sensitize them on JE, which is a life threatening and disabling disease.
Besides children from far flung places in and around Dimapur, many also brought children from neighboring state like Assam where JE prevalence is high.
Dr Imcha also said owing to shortage of the vaccine, it was restricted only for children and not extended for adults.
Medicines designed to protect children before the peak of the transmission season were exported from China .Each vaccine costs `4000 and a one-time vaccination was valid for a lifetime. The vaccination campaign was part of a centrally sponsored mass vaccination programme under ministry of Health & Family Welfare’s Universal Immunization Programme (UIP).
JE is a serious disability disease caused by a virus passed through culex mosquito which breeds in the paddy fields and pig farming region of Asia, with a high rate of 70% disability.
Japanese Encephalitis -- a vector borne disease, is more dangerous than malaria and claimed over 250 lives in north India this year alone.
It may be mentioned that in Dimapur, the first official cases of JE were detected in 2007 after one patient succumbed to the disease out of six positive cases confirmed by tests done by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) New Delhi.
There was no JE case in 2008, however in 2009, seven more samples were tested positive from Dimapur and two from Mokokchung.
Both patients from Mokokchung reportedly succumbed to the disease.
It was learnt that surveillance activity in Nagaland for JE and Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) was carried out in Dimapur and Mokokchung only, for which, central ministry of Health & Family Welfare’s Universal Immunization Programme (UIP) proposed to launch a JE vaccination drive in these two districts.
Meanwhile, talking to Nagaland Post over the phone, district immunization officer Mokokchung Dr. Limatula Aier confirmed that 33,118 children between the age group of 1-15 were immunized against JE vaccination and that so far no side effected were reported.

 
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