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IAP and Immunize India Charity highlight milestones of IAP Immunize India, a vaccination reminder service

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It records more than one million registrations increasing India’s immunisation coverage

Indian Academy of Pediatrics (IAP) and Immunize India Charity came together to discuss challenges and solutions to ‘Close the Immunization Gap’ in accordance with the 2016 WHO Theme. They also highlighted milestones achieved by their joint programme ‘IAP-Immunize India’, a free-of-cost SMS based vaccination reminder service which is nationally available across all mobile networks in India.

Prompted by distressed parents’ dilemma of delayed or missed immunisation for their children, Immunize India Charity conceived the vaccine reminder programme and partnered with IAP to launch ‘IAP Immunize India’ in March 2014.

Commenting on the concerns of low immunisation rate in India, Dr Pramod Jog, National IAP President said, “In India, the percentage of children between 12–23 months of age who received all recommended vaccines on time is just 51.6 per cent. A major reason is that parents do not maintain a vaccination calendar and often forget to vaccinate the child on time in a disciplined manner. This default is observed in both urban and rural areas. 14 per cent of infants who come in contact with immunisation services to receive their BCG Vaccine do not receive their measles vaccine scheduled at nine months. Many children below five years do not receive regular pneumococcal vaccines. These lapses are responsible for increased rates of child morbidity and mortality in India which can definitely be avoided.”

Dr Uday Pai, Past IAP Mumbai President and Consultant Pediatrician, AANGAN, Chembur, Mumbai said, “Immunisation is one of the most successful and cost effective means to help children grow into healthy adults. No child should be denied the right to immunization for unfair reasons, including economic or social causes. In Mumbai, IAP Immunize India has increased immunization coverage and reduced vaccine preventable deaths among children below five years. The city (Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Kalyan) recorded 1,12,000 registrations which means that an estimated 35,000 additional vaccinations are happening that would have otherwise been missed.”

Highlighting the success of IAP Immunize India, Dr Ranjan Kumar Pejaver, Founder & Principal Trustee, Immunize India Charity said, “Vaccination reminder services have been effective in several countries in increasing immunisation compliance by 20 per cent. As of March 31, 2016, IAP Immunize India has received more than 1 million registrations (100,05,000) across India which has contributed greatly to increased compliance. An additional 300,000 vaccinations are happening which would have normally been missed. Our program won several notable national and global awards, recognitions and requests. The Indian Government also has come forward to register and utilize this alert service at their Institutions. The University of Kentucky, US approached us to implement a pilot programme. Observing a 48 per cent increase in immunisation compliance, they now want to extend to Kentucky State with a grant from American Academy of Pediatrics.”

The IAP Immunize India campaign aims to increase the immunisation coverage in India by creating awareness of its programme using media and seeking co-operation from allied organisations such as obstetric, midwifery, nursing and other medical associations. Immunize India Charity is also keen to provide the expertise needed to implement the program in interested countries wishing to improve immunisation coverage.

‘IAP Immunize India’ messaging costs are supported by its telecom partner Vodafone and its field promotion is supported by an education grant from Pfizer.

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