Kolkata | To cut down the number of infant deaths in the state, West Bengal government has implemented a pentavalent vaccination programme. This vaccination would act against five diseases diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus (DPT), hepatitis B and HIB (meningitis) was rolled out by the state Health and Family Welfare Minister Chandrima Bhattacharya yesterday.
The state will provide this vaccination on absolutely free of cost to children upto one year of age. It will spare them from the pain of multiple vaccinations meant for different diseases, West Bengal Health Services Director B R Satpathy said. A baby would be administered three doses of the pentavalent vaccination when it reaches six, ten and 14 weeks, he said, adding that a booster dose at one-and-a-half years would also be provided.
This vaccination will not only help save a child from the life-threatening meningitis but it will also help it to fight the ill-effects of the disease like paralysis. In West Bengal, every year around 3500 to 4000 children die every year. We believe this vaccination will bring down the number and we are expecting a good response for it also, he added. Besides, West Bengal the pentavalent vaccination was launched in 12 other states recently.
Before the official implementation a pilot project was started in Kerala and Tamil Nadu earlier this year. Paediatricians at private hospitals have started prescribing this vaccine but owing to its price, which range between Rs 500 – Rs 1000 for each dosage, it was not that popular among general public, a health department official said. The Indian Academy of Paediatrics had long back recommended the pentavalent vaccination and private doctors had already started prescribing and application of it. But because this vaccination is a bit costly compared to DPT general people could not afford it, he said.
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