Reaching the unreached – consultation on developing sustainable strategies in improving immunization in tribal areas of Odisha

Bhubaneswar: Health Minister Pratap Jena, inaugurated a day-long consultative workshop for ensuring universal coverage with quality and complete immunisation in tribal areas of Odisha here today with a special emphasis on sustainable strategies.

Organised by the Department of Health & FW with UNICEF support, the workshop was attended by Dr P.K. Meherda, Commissioner-Cum-Secretary, Department of Health and Family Welfare, GoO; Ms. ShaliniPandit, Mission Director NHM; Ms. Yumi Bae, Chief, UNICEF Odisha,DFW & other Directors & State officials from the State and from 14 tribal districts in the state as well as representatives from WHO, UNDP, WCD and Education.
Delivering the keynote address the Health Minister, Shri Pratap Jena said,
Strengthening immunization services for tribal areas demonstrates state’s commitment to ensure health equity for sustainable development of the population. Strengthening our immunization program is also an integral part of the state’s strategy for improving maternal and child survival and health in the state, called ‘Sammpurna”
Speaking at the inaugural function, the Commissioner-Cum-Secretary, Health, Dr Meherda said,
According to NFHS-4 (2015-16) the full immunization coverage of Odisha is 78.6 per cent & by INCHIS 83.3%. By embarking on a tribal area immunization strengthening plan we are ensuring that we extend and integrated the focus on equity during the Mission Indradhunsh to state’s Universal Immunization Program (UIP). Strengthening UIP in 122 tribal blocks of the state will further improve the full immunization coverage in the state.
Speaking at the inaugural function, the Mission Director, national health Mission, Ms. Shalini Pandit, said,
Odisha state has made remarkable progress in full immunization coverage, by 24% points in the last 5 years but still it is below 100%. Continued efforts, with focus on tribal population groups are required for ensuring universal access to quality and full immunization in the state.
Speaking at the event, Chief, UNICEF Odisha, Ms. Yumi Bae said,
“While we are happy that there has been significant progress in immunization coverage in the state, reaching the most vulnerable tribal children with quality immunization and health services is still a challenge. UNICEF continues to support the government of Odisha in its resolve to improve the health of the most marginalized women and children in the state.”

Deliberations during the workshop focused on understanding special challenges in providing routine immunization services in tribal areas and on working out an sustainable immunization coverage strengthening plan for 122 tribal blocks in the state.

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