World Immunisation Week (April 24-30) is a one-week period at the end of April dedicated to raising awareness and a better understanding of how immunisation can fight against a host of diseases that are otherwise easily-contractible. These diseases, though preventable, still exist, especially in the developing world where education on basic healthcare is often lacking.
Through individual contributions to this global public health campaign, we can raise our voices to inform others about vaccine-preventable diseases and why it is imperative to inoculate children, ensuring them a lifetime of protection against up to 25 infections and diseases.
The Importance Of Bringing Immunisation To The Forefront
Diseases such as Measles, Tetanus, Hepatitis B, Diphtheria and Pertussis can cause serious harm, especially to infants and children, proving fatal in severe cases. The lack of immunisation leads to the perpetuation of these deadly diseases when simple measures could effectively eradicate them completely.
According to the World Health Organization, though the rate of children being vaccinated has gone up, the overall targets for the eradication of diseases such as Measles, Rubella, and maternal and neonatal Tetanus have fallen behind their aimed-for schedule. Moreover, there have been several outbreaks of diseases that have vaccines to protect children and adults in areas where inhabitants are underprivileged by poverty, marginalization and conflict.
In India, millions of children still do not have access to life-saving vaccinations. Immunisation is a cost-effective health precaution that can save adults, children and their parents’ distress, heartache and money spent on healthcare services when complications arise.
What You Can Do To Help Spread Awareness
The main aim of World Immunisation Week is to raise awareness about the importance of getting the necessary vaccinations in their prescribed doses and schedule.
Educate yourself on immunisation and speak to your physician about the necessary vaccines you and your family need. Speak to those who know about immunisation, especially people who may be underprivileged and not have access to important healthcare information. Here are some points of conversation to drive in why getting vaccinated is crucial:
● Getting immunised is a community duty as the protection against these diseases ensures that you will not pass them to others who are not immunised and perpetuate the cycle of illness.
● Focus on the importance of vaccinating children to help them avoid suffering uncomfortable and painful symptoms.
● Remind people that even seemingly harmless diseases such as Measles and Mumps can have dire long-term consequences that arise from complications, such as Pneumonia and brain inflammation (Measles), or deafness (Mumps). In some cases, complications can prove fatal.
● Talk about monetary costs of providing adequate healthcare and loss of money from having to take time off to care for a sick child in case of infection. All of which can be easily prevented by proper immunisation.
Why Immunisation Is Imperative?
A community’s future depends on the health of its citizens, particularly its children. Besides being beneficial on an individual level, spreading awareness and improving access to immunisation is crucial to economic and societal progress.
Vaccination schedules start at birth and this can build a strong foundation between children and healthcare, allowing their parents and guardians to better understand their medical requirements. No child should be denied the opportunity of a healthy and full life. The provision for the required immunisation can ensure that they are given a fair chance at a healthy future.