Even while appreciating the vaccine initiative, the CM said he didn’t see much point in launching the vaccination programme until two things are done — revival of Ayurveda and keeping westernization at bay.
Comparing ayurveda and allopathic systems of medicine, the CM said allopathic system creates a dam to prevent flow of water (read as disease) but ayurveda prevents the very flow of water. He even said westernization was the source of all the ills. “Aap suyee dete jaiye, par sanskriti ko bhul jaiyenge to koi faida nahi,” he said.
“When my daughter suffered from pneumonia in childhood, she was given oil of pig’s skin and yellow portion of egg. Since then, she has not suffered from pneumonia again. I wonder if allopathic medicine today has developed such a kind of drug,” he remarked. He did not say much about the vaccine, even while hailing it as a progressive move.
The programme was organized by Unicef, Indian Academy of Paediatrics and State Health Society.
Education minister Brishen Patel earlier urged the CM to declare 2015 as the year for neonates. The CM conceded his request, saying, “I do not believe much in these things but the advice has come from a senior colleague.”
On the occasion, health department officials made a presentation showing how immunization rate has gone up to 70% in the state from 18% in 2005. To this, the CM said, ” … the last man is not able to get these services.”
Though the CM’s address earned him some applause from the audience, experts said the launch of pentavalent vaccine would prove a great booster in improving the overall immunization rate. HiB (Human Influenza type B) vaccine will now become part of routine immunization programme. This vaccine will create immunity against pneumonia that kills 40,000 kids in Bihar annually, beside meningitis. From now on, DPT (diphtheria, pertussis or whooping cough and tetanus), hepatitis B and HiB vaccine will be given in one shot and known as pentavalent vaccine.
Doctors say it will reduce the number of vaccines to be given because earlier hepatitis and DPT vaccines were given separately. Its introduction will also lead to lower dropout rate of immunization. In Bihar, out of 2.7 million children born annually, about 0.9 million are dropouts. Also, less number of storage points will be required as vaccines get combined into one. Wastage of vials of vaccine will also be reduced.