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Student absenteeism in Maharashtra turns hurdle in measles-rubella vaccination drive

The state education department on Thursday asked officials across the state to address student absenteeism during the measles-rubella (MR) vaccination drive, as per the Centre’s directives, which started on November 27 to ensure 100% coverage across all schools.

‘It has been observed that in some schools, students are absent on the day of vaccination. Officials should ensure that awareness should be created in such schools where parents should be told about the need for vaccination to ensure 100% coverage,’ stated a recent circular.

Dr Chandrashekhar Chiplunkar, assistant health officer, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), said of the 5,98,687 children who were supposed to be vaccinated as on December 6, 4,29,994 (71.8%) were vaccinated.

“Initially, some schools and parent bodies refused to take part, but after a number of parent-teacher meetings by our health officials, they finally agreed to take part in the vaccination programme. Still, even now after sending updates of date and time of the vaccination, we found more than 28% are yet to be vaccinated owing to several reasons such as absenteeism and no consent from parents,” he added.

When asked him about the plan of action , he said they will try and convince the parents about benefits of vaccination. “Vaccination isn’t mandatory but it’s essential. We will keep trying to convince parents and teachers about its benefits in order to achieve our target of 30 lakh children across the city.”

Arundhati Chavan, president of the Parent Teacher Associations (PTA) united forum said many parents have not been sensitised well. “The corporation should ensure that well-trained officials who can address all queries of parents are deployed,” said Chavan.

First Published: Dec 06, 2018 23:48 IST

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