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Year : 1990  |  Volume : 34  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 221-6

Universal Immunization Programme in Assam and West Bengal.

UNICEF, Calcutta

Correspondence Address:
S Kumar
UNICEF, Calcutta

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

PMID: 2133576

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In 1990, the Universal Immunization Programme (UIP) was able to do fairly well in Assam and West Bengal in India. Immunization coverage rates varied as low as 59.5% for measles in Assam and 69.63% in West Bengal to as high as 80.13% for BCG and 104.73% respectively. All primary health centers provided immunizations on Mondays in Assam and on Wednesdays in West Bengal. Eventually district and block health officials extended these fixed days to subcenter and village levels. Further major hospitals provided them daily. Moreover health workers from various agencies conducted 2 special immunization sessions in October, November, and December 1990 at 1 month intervals in areas with a large uncovered child population so as to fully immunize children against certain diseases. Obstacles prevented adequate immunization coverage in Calcutta, West Bengal so by April 1990 DPT3 coverage was only 29% and that of measles 13%. Thus the Calcutta Municipal Corporation arranged 3 immunization campaigns lasting 6 days in october, November, and December 1990 in which health workers from 4 different agencies vaccinated the children. Measles coverage increased to 61%. In 1990, health workers conducted immunization activities in tea gardens where many people worked in Upper Assam such as fixed days and outreach to neighboring areas. Both the Assam and West Bengal State Governments gave UIP a high priority such as the formation of a task force on UIP. Further laborer groups helped launch a campaign in West Bengal. The Muslim leader of Calcutta encouraged all Muslims in West Bengal to become immunized. Moreover organizations including the Ministry of Social Welfare and Lions and Rotary Clubs joined the Ministry of Health in immunization efforts. The UIP used folk media and the mass media to disseminate information and educate the public about immunizations. The Project Officer for UNICEF covered UIP sustainability issues such as political commitment and maintenance of the cold chain.

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