UNICEF India and Power Foundation today held a National Urdu Media Meet, Rubaroo, in Delhi focusing on Child Survival and Routine Immunization. The participants at the discourse included senior representatives from the Department of Child Health and Immunization, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, officials from World Health Organisation (WHO), Immunization Technical Support Unit (ITSU – MoHFW), Global Health Strategies, eminent thought leaders besides representatives of leading national and regional Urdu media.
The deliberations focused on the introduction of critical new vaccines under the Universal Immunization Programme 2017-18. The recent launch of the measles-rubella vaccine along with rotavirus and soon-to be launched PCV vaccine against pneumonia, was also discussed. The introduction of these new vaccines in the Universal Immunization Programe aims to reduce childhood mortality and protect children from the highly preventable three major killer diseases-measles, pneumonia and diahorrea. The first-time introduction of the rubella vaccine, in a combination MR shot, protects against irreversible and devastating birth defects. The MR campaign targets around 41 crore children, making it one of the largest ever immunization campaign of its kind.
Opening the Urdu Media meet, Dr. Pradeep Haldar, Deputy Commissioner (I), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said, “Immunization is one of the most effective and cost-effective ways to protect children’s lives and futures. Through full immunization coverage, we can make sure that the benefits of life-saving vaccines reach every child. The recently introduced measles rubella vaccine, which will be provided for free in schools, during the campaign, in health facilities and at outreach session sites, is another such step to achieving our goals.”
UNICEF in association with civil society organizations, religious leaders and academia have been engaging with Urdu media as a critical stakeholder in efforts to create trust in vaccines and address myths around immunization to ensure every child in the country gets a fair start.
Addressing the gathering, Ms. Alexandra Westerbeek, Chief, Communication & Advocacy UNICEF India highlighted, “Urdu media have been our long-standing partners in the fight against polio. We now seek your support to ensure that children, no matter where they live, are immunized. Vaccines not only save children’s lives and ensure healthy and productive futures, immunization is one of the most cost-effective public health intervention.”
Ms Shamina Shafiq, Executive Founder Director, Power Foundation, shared how social media can help spread awareness on the importance of vaccines. Speaking about
Rubaroo, she said, “In order to reach the last mile child, and create awareness on the importance of immunization we have engaged with Urdu dailies to reinforce instant message recall of immunization under our social media platform ‘Rubaroo’.”