The death of a six-month-old child and four other persons found suffering from diphtheria in Jaipur’s JK Lone Hospital last fortnight has raised serious questions on the efficacy of immunization programmes in the Indian state of Rajasthan.
A combination vaccine against diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus is given to every child under various immunization programmes. “Few children, who were in post diphtheria stage, were admitted in the JK Lone Hospital but no case has been reported as diphtheria is reported by eye and throat unit at SMS Hospital. At JK Lone Hospital, few children came in post diphtheria stage,” said Dr. S.D. Gupta, superintendent, JK Lone Hospital.
Authorities now say they will fix the responsibility on the health workers in the areas from where such cases and patients have been reported. “We will inquire into who is responsible for these cases,” said Dr. M.L. Jain, assistant director, reproductive and child health.
Rajasthan health department data regarding immunization programmes in the state shows the lethargy in dealing with the disease. In the first two months of 2011-12, only 10 percent target of immunization has been achieved which was some five percent lower than last year. In 2010-11, the health department achieved only 83.18 percent of its annual target which shows a glaring gap between the need and action taken.