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LETTER TO EDITOR
Year : 2018  |  Volume : 32  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 160-161

Assessment of the inequalities in the immunization coverage: World Health Organization


Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Web Publication25-Oct-2018

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Saurabh R Shrivastava
3rd Floor, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai Village, Thiruporur - Guduvancherry Main Road, Sembakkam Post, Kanchipuram - 603 108, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jms.jms_112_16

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How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Assessment of the inequalities in the immunization coverage: World Health Organization. J Med Soc 2018;32:160-1

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Assessment of the inequalities in the immunization coverage: World Health Organization. J Med Soc [serial online] 2018 [cited 2018 Dec 15];32:160-1. Available from: http://www.jmedsoc.org/text.asp?2018/32/2/160/207671

Sir,

The newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals by the member states of the United Nations aims not to leave anyone and ensures that, regardless of any determinant, welfare measures and health services are made accessible to all.[1] In fact, the principle of equity lays down the framework for the global mission to accomplish sustainable development on the financial, social, and the environmental front.[1] Further, there is a great need to give additional attention to improve the situation of vulnerable populations, and this can happen only if the existing inequalities between different segments of the population is neutralized.[1]

For decades together, immunization has been considered one of the most cost-effective public health interventions which can prevent the deaths of millions of children from vaccine-preventable diseases.[2],[3] In fact, the global estimates indicate that close to 2–3 million deaths are avoided every year, and the benefit can be further expanded immensely, provided measures are taken to improve the global vaccination coverage.[3] It is an alarming estimate that almost 20 million infants are still devoid of basic vaccines and this is predominantly due to the lack of equal access to vaccines.[1],[3] Further, a wide range of factors such as geographical location, socioeconomic status, demographic factors such as mothers' education, and health-care delivery system-related attributes have affected the immunization coverage.[1],[2],[3]

Even though some nations have taken measures to minimize inequalities to eventually improve the coverage, others still have a long way to go.[4] It is very essential to periodically assess the immunization activities to ascertain whether these activities are on track to reach the desired targets.[2],[4] In fact, the World Health Organization has released a report to provide information about the trends in inequalities in childhood immunization coverage in the last decade and the nature of such inequalities.[1] This assessment is a crucial step as it will assist the program managers in identifying their lacunae, and then implement corrective measures to improve the coverage in inadequately vaccinated population subgroups.[1],[5]

Although the proportion of inequality has declined in comparison to the estimates a decade ago, the inequality pertaining to the household financial status or maternal education was found to be most common.[4] Furthermore, significant gaps have been identified in the national immunization coverage between different nations, with a definitive inequality between rural and urban areas.[1] The need of the hour is to expand the process of health inequality monitoring, especially in low-resource settings so that prompt steps can be taken to close the gap and improve the state of inequality.[1],[4] In addition, it is extremely crucial to strengthen the national health information systems to ensure that specific strategies can be formulated and implemented to reach the most-disadvantaged population subgroups.[1],[4] In addition, there is a great need to explore the reasons for the persistence of inequalities in different settings and ways to respond to them.[4]

To conclude, a wide range of disparities are prevailing in varied settings with regard to the immunization coverage. Thus, there is an indispensable need to be more proactive and implement appropriate measures to bridge the existing gaps, and eventually enhance the reach and the benefits of immunization.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

 
  References Top

1.
World Health Organization. State of Inequality: Childhood Immunization. Geneva: WHO press; 2016. p. 1-26.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Are we on the right track to achieve global immunization targets? Public health perspective. Int J Prev Med 2015;6:118.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
World Health Organization. Immunization Coverage - Fact Sheet No. 378; 2016. Available from: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs378/en/. [Last accessed on 2016 Dec 19].  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Restrepo-Méndez MC, Barros AJ, Wong KL, Johnson HL, Pariyo G, França GV, et al. Inequalities in full immunization coverage: Trends in low- and middle-income countries. Bull World Health Organ 2016;94:794-805B.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. WHO and UNICEF: Updates on immunization coverage and how can we improve upon? J Res Med Sci 2015;20:1216-7.  Back to cited text no. 5
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