According to a study published in The Lancet, in the year 2010, 16.8 lakh children died in India below the age of five years, due to infectious but preventable diseases. More than half of them could not complete the first month of their life.
Pneumonia was the leading killer with causing 28.6% of the deaths, followed by preterm birth complications with 18.1%, and diarrhoea with 12.6%. Besides that there are many other diseases prevalent among the children in our country which can be prevented with some awareness and caution.
The most basic of these is hygiene. Awareness about proper sanitation and hygiene is very crucial, specially in the rural areas. Secondly, proper and complete vaccination is very important for every child. The government of India recommends that all children be vaccinated against at least six diseases – tuberculosis, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, polio and measles. In addition to these, the Indian Academy of Paediatrics (IAP) recommends the Hepatitis B, MMR, HIB, Typhoid and HPV vaccines. Some other common diseases are chickenpox, mumps, rotavirus, rubella, whooping cough.
We as individuals can take an initiative in creating awareness among people about these diseases and how they can be prevented, so as to build a healthy nation! Recently India has been declared Polio free and this has largely been driven by large scale awareness campaigns, so we know it can be done!