The government is planning to make immunization cards mandatory for students before their admission to schools. It has already made plans to have students taken to immunization centers near them if found unvaccinated.
The plan will materialize once the National Immunisation Act, that is likely to be forwarded to the President, gets endorsed.
The move is part of the Ministry of Health and Population’s (MoHP) plan to ensure total immunization coverage.
According to data at the Ministry of Education (MoE), around 7.5 million students are enrolled in 34,000 schools, both government and private, across the country while around 1 million get enrolled in class one every year.
Chief of the Child Health Division Dr Tara Pokhrel said they have been holding talks with the MoE on the matter and are getting positive response.
Joint Secretary at the MoE Lava Deo Awasthi said they will soon give a nod to such a provision.
Presently, the government has been administering 10 vaccines to newborns free of cost. Children are inoculated with the BCG vaccine against tuberculosis right after their birth. Similarly, the pentavalent vaccine, administered 45 days after birth, is a combination of five vaccines that protects children from five diseases, including diphtheria, tetanus and hepatitis-B. Vaccines are also administered against polio and measles. The Japanese Encephalitis vaccine is given to children older than two years in 30 high risk districts. A few months ago, the government included rubella vaccination under the routine immunization program. Apart from this, all pregnant women are administered with the TT vaccine.
The Child Health Division estimates that around 650,000 babies are born in Nepal every year. As part of its comprehensive multi-year immunization plan 2011-16, the government has also planned to achieve and maintain at least 90 percent vaccination coverage in each district by 2016. According to the Nepal Demographic Health Survey (NDHS)-2011, 87 percent of children are immunized in the country.