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KOHIMA, May 30: The inaugural programme of the two-day workshop with religious leaders to improve demand for immunization and maternal and child health services in Nagaland was held on 30th May, 2017 at Hotel Vivor, Kohima with Minister for Health & Family Welfare, P. Longon as the chief guest. The workshop is being organised by State Health Society in collaboration with UNICEF.
Minister for Health & Family Welfare, P. Longon in his inaugural speech said that, the government of Nagaland is trying its best to work towards the welfare of the people of Nagaland and continuously making efforts to build our generation fit for future challenges, be it their competence to excel in their careers, the economic life, social or spiritual life.
He mentioned that to achieve health for all, the programmes directed towards welfare of the people needs community ownership and partnership. As observed, there is a gap between service provision and the information about the service among the people. The people are not well informed on the benefits of the government programmes particularly ongoing health scheme and programmes. As a result, it is not being able to harness the desired outcome of the health programmes, he said.
He further pointed that the state coverage in immunization programme is low, the reasons being the low demand for immunization services in the state, information gap and fear of adverse events following immunization, parents and families do not know about vaccines, they do not feel the need for vaccination. He apprised that the government is making efforts to engage with communities in platforms such as village health and nutrition pays organized at villages by the health workers for community participations awareness.
Longon further urged the department as well as civil society organizations, faith based organization and volunteers to strive in achieving good healthy society. He appealed the leaders of Churches, the media and other civil societies to help the health workers at grass root level to create awareness and promote good healthy practices.
Outlining the objectives of the workshop, Chief of Field Office, UNICEF, Assam, Dr. Tushar Rane said that UNICEF is supporting the respective state governments in the North Eastern states, and they have been doing so for the past 5 years. He spoke on the need to improve the infant mortality rate, which is 29 in the state. Institutional delivery which is about 32%, is a matter of great concern and in this regard, he pointed out that ante natal check-up should be given priority and maternal health should be given utmost importance. Speaking on immunization, he stated that Nagaland has the lowest rate of immunization in the country (33.6% as per RSOC, 2013-14), and that only 1 out of 3 children are immunized, which needs to be addressed. Dr. Rane mentioned that just as how polio and small pox have been eradicated in the country, IMF, Institutional Delivery and Immunization can also be checked by following such examples.
General Secretary, NBCC, Rev. Dr. Zelhou Keyho mentioned that the church plays an important role not only in the faith matter of the constituents, but also in the social and health of its members. He also pointed out that in today’s technology advanced medical world, one must be well informed and depend on the medical advances to bring healing to sickness, and that the church under NBCC will be extending their help to this venture and participate in the maternal and child immunization programme initiation.
Father Charles, representation from Catholic Association, Nagaland stated that the social mission of the catholic church is to enhance knowledge, skills and attitudes of the people in the village in regard to accessing health care services, improving sanitation and hygiene, ensuring maternal and child health as well as building capacity in naturals and herbal medicine practices and look forward to build partnership with government department, NGOs and individuals.
Since church organization have an established network of people and physical infrastructure that reaches from state to district and to community levels, and considering that 90 percent of the population in the state follow Christianity (census 2011), it is hoped that this workshop is partnership with church will facilitate an easier reach to the communities with information on child and maternal health, he further added.