To tackle the issue of Immunisation, Apnalaya joined Network 18, along with the Serum Institute of India, as knowledge partners, to run a year-long campaign on immunisation. ‘Swasth Immunised India’ was officially launched on 21 February 2019, with Kareena Kapoor Khan stepping up as the celebrity ambassador to raise awareness for the campaign.
According to WHO, immunisation prevents 2-3 million deaths every year, however 5 lakh children still die of diseases, preventable by vaccines, every year in India. In fact, India is home to the highest number of unvaccinated (56%) and incompletely vaccinated children (32%).
Over the last 5 years, Apnalaya has successfully increased immunisation coverage in M East Ward from 23% in 2014 to 73% in 2019 – overcoming a lack of awareness and limited access to basic health care services across 12 slum clusters in the process.
According to Poornima Nair, Director (Health) at Apanlaya, who spoke at the event, a lack of knowledge about the importance of immunisation is one of the primary barriers of immunisation in M East Ward.
The campaign aims to spreading awareness on the importance and benefits of immunisation among the masses – working to dispelling myths and misconceptions pertaining to the administration of vaccination among Indians. The primary aim of the campaign is to raise awareness about the importance and benefits of vaccine administration, advocating its acceptance and building a strong immunization outreach in the country.
Poornima shared the story of Rubeena and her husband, Miraz Qureshi, who had moved to Mumbai with their 3 kids from a small village in Uttar Pradesh. “They were unaware of the need of immunisation and had no knowledge of what was to be done.” She said.
“Apnalaya’s Community Health Volunteers convinced them to get their youngest child immunised, as she was eligible for it. The family later had another child and this time they made sure the child received all the vaccines timely right from the beginning.” Ms Nair said.
Additionally, Aasma Sharif, a beneficiary at Apnalaya, also spoke at the Four Seasons event, outlining how she had earlier refused to get her second child immunised after the first one faced side effects – it was only after an intervention from Apnalaya, that she agreed to get her child immunised. Today, the child is healthy and the immunisation status is up-to-date for his age.