The Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai has proposed free typhoid vaccination for children between the age group of 2 to 5. This free typhoid vaccination programme will start over the next three months. This decision of BMC could help many families from lower-income groups.
According to BMC health officials this move is going to benefit over 3.5 lakh children in the city. While the civic body has made a provision of Rs 1.5 crore for typhoid vaccination for the year 2017-18, it will have to spend around Rs 3.50 crore for providing the free vaccine.
Dr Padmaja Keskar, Executive Health Officer, BMC said, “Free vaccination of typhoid will be given along with other vaccines like polio, hepatitis and tuberculosis (TB) by organising health camps. We are expecting this programme will start within the next two to three months.
She further said, “The vaccination is not foolproof, people also need to take care of hand hygiene. Cleanliness and good hygiene levels play a vital role to avoid such type of disease”.
Typhoid fever is caused by a germ (bacterium) called Salmonella typhi (S. typhi). This bacterium may contaminate food or drink in areas of poor sanitation. Typhoid ranges from being a mild illness to a fatal one. Symptoms include sudden onset of high fever, severe headache, feeling sick (nausea), abdominal pain, loss of appetite, constipation or diarrhoea.
According to BMC officials in 30 per cent of the cases, children get the disease despite being vaccinated. Typhoid is common among children and teenagers between the age groups of 5 and 19.
Dr Pratit Sambani, a General Physician said, “This is a good step. Along with small kids adults should also be vaccinated for typhoid, because it’s very common disease. Also giving such vaccines free by the authority is important as the prices for vaccination differ from Rs150 to Rs1600”.
Dr Anil Pachnekar, former President of Indian Medical Association (IMA) said, “With the rise in mercury levels in the city I receive around two to three paediatric typhoid cases every day. Consumption of contaminated food/water and poor hygiene is the major cause for this. Hence vaccination is a good option especially for those who can’t afford this health service”.
“Typhoid could lead to health issues like loose motions and other gastroenteritis cases. So do not drink roadside coolers like lemon juice, ice golas, other fruit juices and food which have been kept open. Have a simple meal and give boiled water to children,” he advised.