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40 per cent of city slum children yet to be immunised: survey


Kolkata : The immunisation of children in the city’s slums has been found to be way below at 60 per cent of the target of complete cover, according to a survey by an NGO “Child Rights and You”.

The Child Rights and You (CRY) sample survey found that though the scenario had improved in the past few years, still 40 per cent of slum children were yet to be brought under the immunisation cover.

The CRY works for the underprivileged children and for the protection of child rights.

The study report said, “Immunisation being one of the most critical components for children’s survival in the first six years, vaccination status in the slums of Kolkata falls short of expectation.”

The household sample survey called “Are Children Getting A Healthy Start?” for children between the age-group of one to six years revealed that 58 per cent of the surveyed children received at least one dose of recommended vaccination.

The sample survey was conducted in 18 slums of Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, New Delhi and Kolkata.

“There is also a slight gender imbalance evident in the collected data with 61.2 per cent boys within one to three years age-group being fully vaccinated, while in the case of girls, it is about 56.5 per cent,” the study revealed.

Delhi fares much worse than Kolkata in this regard, with less than one-third of the children fully vaccinated (about 31 per cent) under the age of three years, CRY CEO Puja Marwaha said.

With respect to Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) delivery provisions, findings of the sample survey suggest that 87 per cent of the respondent parents were fairly happy with the way growth monitoring of children was regularly done in the ICDS centres across the city.

“But more than 45 per cent of parents reported that they do not get regular and pro-active feedback from the centres,” it said.

“More worrying is the fact that 76 per cent of the respondent parents reportedly were not at all informed by the Aanganwadi centres that their wards were underweight and needed to be taken to nutrition rehabilitation centres or hospitals,” the study said.

However, with respect to indicators like birth registration and breastfeeding, the city does fairly well, the study has noted.

“The city has the second highest birth registration rate with a satisfactory 85.1 per cent among the five metros surveyed,” it stated, adding that 94 per cent of the surveyed children in Kolkata’s slums were found to be breastfed at birth or on the same day.

“Early childhood spanning from birth to the age of six years is the crucial period when the foundations of cognitive, physical and socio-emotional development, language and personality are laid… It’s also the phase of maximum vulnerability as deprivation can seriously impact a child’s health and learning potential,” the study said.

Therefore we need to ensure that children in this age group get the best of nutrition, health and learning,” Marwaha said.

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