November 10, 2016
The absence of records on the number of Pneumonia cases has caused concern among the doctors here.
Though the number of cases have come down significantly thanks to various preventive vaccines and medicines, it has become an uphill task for the medical fraternity to come out with statistics that would help in large scale prevention.
Briefing media persons here today, Dr. K. Rajendran, Head of the Department of Paediatrics and Neonatology at Kovai Medical Centre and Hospital (KMCH), said the country was in need of Pediatric Pneumococcal Disease surveillance as the exact number of cases were not known.
“We need to monitor the disease at the local and national level. Currently the numbers are around 70 to 80 lakh in children and the mortality rate around three to five lakh. If we get the exact statistics, it will be helpful in dispensing the vaccines accurately,” he said.
Despite the disease not being severe in the southern parts of the country, free vaccination would help the rural people. “At present, five States including Bihar, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh are providing free vaccines to less than one-year-old children. This should be done in other States also,” he added.
On the PCV13 vaccine that was introduced recently, Dr. Rajendran said the vaccine had reduced the incidence of Pneumonia cases. “Ten years ago we used to treat up to 10 patients a month. But after the introduction of the vaccine the number has significantly come down,” he added.
He urged young mothers to breastfeed their babies at least for two years as it would increase immunity level in kids and prevent various diseases including Pneumonia.