Shri J P Nadda announces India Launch of Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV)

Shri J P Nadda announces India Launch of Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV)

“At this momentous milestone, India remains committed to Global Polio Eradication”: J P Nadda 
Shri J P Nadda, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare launched the injectable Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) in India as part of its commitment to the “Global Polio Endgame Strategy” at a function, here today in the presence of Shri Shripad Yasso Naik, Minister of State (MoS), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. 

Speaking on the occasion, the Health Minister stated that in a landmark step to provide double protection to our children and securing our gains of polio eradication, the Government of India is introducing IPV into its routine immunization program along with oral polio vaccine. He informed that in the first phase this vaccine will be introduced in six states, viz Assam, Gujarat, Punjab, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh. IPV injection will be given to children below one year of age along with the third dose of the Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) at the routine immunization sessions free of cost, he stated. New evidences now clearly show that IPV and OPV together will further strengthen the children’s immune system and will provide double protection against polio, the Health Minister added.

Shri Nadda said, that today’s introduction of IPV in routine immunization is as per recommendation made in World Health Assembly in May, 2015 and endorsed by Global Polio Endgame Strategy. IPV will roll-out to 126 countries which are only using OPV in the National program and it will be the largest and fastest globally-coordinated vaccine introduction project in history. Further he said, while keeping intact our polio agenda, “We are utilizing the opportunities to intensify our efforts to ensure full immunization of all children in the country. Every new vaccine introduction gives us the added opportunity of health system strengthening. As part of this introduction we have trained our health officials and frontline health workers”, the Health Minister said.

The Health Minister said that apart from introduction of new vaccines such as Pentavalent and IPV, the Government of India is ensuring that every last child in the country is benefited by the immunization programme. To achieve this, “Mission Indradhanush” was launched in unidentified high and medium focus districts across the country in two phases. Phase-1 of “Mission Indradhanush” has been completed where more than 75 lakh children were vaccinated, of which about 20 lakh children were fully vaccinated. Phase-2 has also started from 7th October’2015,in 352 districts, he added.

Shri Nadda said that Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) is considered one of the key socioeconomic developmental indicators. “We have reduced IMR from 58 per 1000 live births in 2005 to 40 per 1000 live births as per recent estimates of SRS 2013. Annual rate of decline of IMR is 4.5 % during 2005-13 which is higher as compared to 3.1% during 2000-2005.”, he said. Further, the Health Minister said interventions like Special New Born Care Units, New Born Stabilization Units, New Born Care Corners, and Home based Neonatal Care by ASHA have geared up reduction in IMR. Recent initiatives like RMNCHA+ and India Newborn Action Plan reflect the country’s will to further advance in this direction., the Health Minister said.

The Health Minister thanked and congratulated all state governments and the supporting organizations like WHO, UNICEF and Rotary International etc. for partnering in this endeavor. He expressed his gratitude toward the frontline health workers for achieving unique success of polio eradication in the sphere of public health.

Speaking on the occasion, Shri Shripad Yasso Naik, MoS (Ministry of Health and Family Welfare) stated that introduction of this new vaccine is a step closer to global polio eradication. He hoped that ensuring healthy children will lead to a healthy country.

Terming the introduction of IPV in the routine immunization programme a landmark moment, Shri B P Sharma, Secretary (Health) said that IPV will be an important step in the Polio Endgame Strategy and will strengthen full immunization efforts in the country. He enumerated India’s achievements under the Mission Indradhanush programme.

Smt. Poonam Khetrapal, Regional Director, SEARO (WHO) stated that launching IPV in India is a historic moment and will further cement India’s achievements on polio, so far. She said it is necessary step to eradicate polio virus from the world. She also applauded the Government of India for its commitment to eradicate polio.

Mr. Michael McGovern, International PolioPlus Committee of Rotary International commended India for its success in keeping the country polio free, and said that Rotary shall always support its polio eradication efforts.

Mr. Louis-Georges Arsenault, UNICEF Representative for India commended the strengthening of India’s immunization programme by introduction of IPV and termed this as a “monumental step”. He reiterated commitment and support of UNICEF in India’s immunization endeavors.

Also present on this occasion were, Dr. (Prof) Jagdish Prasad, DGHS, Shri C K Mishra, AS&MD (NHM), Dr. Rakesh Kumar, JS (RCH, IEC), Shri Rajendra K Saboo, Past President, Rotary International, senior officers of the Health Ministry, representatives of WHO, UNICEF and Rotary. 

India continues to remain free of wild poliovirus 
Avaccine-derived poliovirus (iVDPV) was reportedfrom an immunodeficient child in the national capital region recently. The occurrence of an iVDPV is an extremely rare phenomenon and only about 100 cases with immunodeficiency have been documented to be excreting iVDPVs globally since 1961.

India continues to remain free of wild poliovirus. The occurrence of this case should not be confused with the wild poliovirus that was responsible for paralysis of thousands of children each year until it was eradicated from India in 2011.An iVDPVcan occur in a person with a rare immunodeficient disorder because the bodydoes not initiate an immune response to the vaccine as a healthy child would.

Ongoing poliovirus surveillance, including environmental surveillance, through sewage sample testing in the area has not revealed any poliovirus circulation in the area.In line with theglobal guidelines of WHO for response to VDPVs to mitigate the risk of spread of the VDPV, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare conducted a polio round from 6th November,2015 to immunize all children under 5 years, in the vicinity of the area where the case was detected.

India along with ten other countries of South East Asia region of WHO has been certified polio free on 27 March 2014. The last case due to wild poliovirus in India was detected on 13 January 2011 andIndia continues to remain free of wild polio virus as certified by the Regional Certification Commission of South East Asia Region. 
Shri J P Nadda announces major policy decisions in fight against HIV-AIDS

“Reaffirm India’s commitment in ending epidemic by 2030” 
Shri J P Nadda, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare announced major policy decisions in the fight against HIV-AIDS in the presence of Shri Shripad Yasso Naik, Minister of State (MoS), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, at a function on the occasion of World AIDS Day, 2015 organised by the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, here today. The Health Minister also released the “India HIV Estimations 2015-Technical Report” and launched Distance Learning Programme on Opioid Substitution Therapy (OST), Integrated HIV TB e-learning module, PPTCT ART Linkage Software (PALS) and HIV Sensitive Social Protection Portal on this occasion.

Speaking on this occasion, Shri Nadda informed that the Government of India has taken major policy decisions towards strengthening the fight against the epidemic. It has been decided that the National AIDS Control Programme will continue as a Central Sector Scheme, he informed. Further, the Minister said, there had been concern in some quarters about the ability of some of the States to contribute their share to the programme-these doubts should now be laid to rest. This decision clearly demonstrates the Government’s commitment towards this cause, Shri Nadda stressed.

Shri Nadda expressed happiness over integration of Prevention from Parent to Child Transmission (PPTCT) programme with the RCH programme. He said more than a crore women were provided with counseling and testing services and this programme is continuing to scale up to ensure zero transmission from mother to child. “I want every child born in this country to be free of AIDS and have the freedom to realize her dreams”, he said. The above steps are important milestones as we traverse the 90:90:90 strategy adopted by UNAIDS, the Health Minister said. Further, he said that in view of the growing need for treatment services, the Ministry has also decided that the cut-off level for initiation of Anti Retrieval Therapy (ART) will henceforth be a CD4 count of 500. With this decision an additional 1 lakh persons will start getting benefit of treatment, he stated. It has also been decided to offer 3rd line treatment to patients who need it. “NACO has been asked to gear up for these initiatives and we hope to start actual delivery in the coming weeks”, the Minister informed.

The Health Minister stated that success of India’s HIV/AIDS Control Programme is recognized globally and the country has been able to bring consistent decline in HIV prevalence, in the incidences of new infections, and also in the number of AIDS-related deaths. He said inspite of concrete success, there is no scope for complacency. Newer vulnerabilities continue to emerge. So, there is need to expand the scope of our services. Further, since the world has adopted the goal of ending this epidemic by 2030, much greater efforts would be required, he added. The Health Minister urged all development partners (UN Agencies, USAID, WHO, World Bank etc.), civil society to come together and join hands in this fight against HIV, so that epidemic can be ended by 2030.

Shri Nadda also stated that addressing stigma and discrimination towards HIV is of paramount importance, to enable persons infected and affected with HIV to access health services and live a life of dignity. The Health Minister highlighted the need for equal participation, inclusion and collective efforts. He dispelled all takes of shortage of drugs and stated that all procurement issues are under control by NACO. He said that India has extended support to the African countries in their fight against HIV-AID which reflects India’s global commitment.

Shri Shripad Yasso Naik, Minister of State (MoS), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said that youth can play bigger role to change the mindset of people by creating more awareness and dispelling misconceptions surrounding the diseases. Shri Naik urged people to come together to end this epidemic by 2030.

Shri B P Sharma, Secretary (Health) highlighted the contribution of evidence-based planning, involvement of stakeholders and communities, judicious deployment of resources and focused interventions, in the success India has had to reduce HIV-AIDS infection. He stated that we need to be alert and continue with our effort.

The HIV Estimation-2015 show that India has been successful in achieving the MDG-6 of halting and reversing the HIV epidemic by 2015. The fact that new infections have declined by 66% from 2000 and 2015, and AIDS-related deaths fallen by 54% from 2007 to 2015, is a concrete proof that India has delivered on its global commitment in achieving MDG-6. While India’s success story continues, the current estimates highlight key challenges that will need to be addressed with urgency as the programme moves ahead to achieve NACP IV goals in the short term, the 90-90-90 targets in the intermediate term, and to end the AIDS epidemic in the longer term. The slow-down identified in the rate of decrease of new HIV infections in last few years is a key issue, while scope of improvements in ART and PPTCT coverage exists.

The Opioid Substitution Therapy (OST) is one of the components under the harm reduction strategy and is an evidence-based medical treatment for dependence on opioid drugs. It is a highly effective intervention for reducing drug related harms among IDUs particularly prevention of transmission of HIV and other blood borne diseases. OST is provided by trained physicians both in NGO as well as Public health settings. To increase the capacity building of physicians through distance learning an Opioid Substitution Therapy (OST) distance learning programme has been developed for building the capacities of service providers engaged in delivery of Opioid Substitution Therapy (OST). This distance learning program is targeted towards the personnel working in OST centres supported by the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO). It enables the participants to acquaint themselves with the various aspects of OST till such time they get an opportunity to attend the formal classroom trainings. Certificate of completion will be awarded to the participants upon completion of the course. This certificate would enable the participant to start delivery of OST services at their centres. The online training programme is a joint endeavour of National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre (NDDTC), All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi and Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), New Delhi and NACO.

To train the staff of NACP and RNTCP working at district and sub-district level, an “e-training HIV TB module have been developed by NACO and Central TB Division, MoHFW with support of ILFS India as a “Digital India” initiative. This integrated e-training module includes all updated knowledge regarding HIV TB, which will improve the participants knowledge on Diagnosis, treatment, Preventive measures related to HIV/TB. This innovative methodology of training will be helpful to impart the desired knowledge regarding TB/HIV with the purpose to improve the effectiveness, efficiency, and sustainability of Government of India’s response to TB/HIV. While HIV Sensitive social protection portal will help the officials and counselors at the district level to facilitate and ensure more and more people avail the benefits of these schemes.

HIV positive pregnant and breast feeding women accessing the Prevention of Parent To Child Transmission of HIV (PPTCT)/Early Infant Diagnosis services during pregnancy, delivery and breastfeeding and early infant diagnosis of infants in any of the ICTC (Integrated Counseling and Testing Center) or ART (Anti-retroviral Therapy) center in the country will be reported in the PPTCT ART Linkages Software (PALS) system. This is a web based system which enables in creating longitudinal cohort details of all HIV positive pregnant and breast feeding women and their newborn babies until their baby is tested for HIV at 18 months of age. This system will be accessed by all Standalone ICTCs (5353) and ART (544) centers in the country. The system will help in documenting improving health outcomes for mothers and their children, facilitating elimination of parent to child transmission of HIV in India.

Also present on this occasion were, Shri N.S.Kang, Additional Secretary, NACO; Mr. Oussama Tawil, Country Coordinator, UNAID India; Mr. Hendrik Jan Bekudam, WHO Representative to India and Mr. Jaco Cilliers, Country Director, UNDP. They all appreciated India’s effort to fight against HIV-AIDS. 

India success story of a strong response to HIV/AIDS continues

Millennium Development Goal of halting and reversing the epidemic achieved New HIV infections declined by 66% while AIDS-related deaths by 54% between 2007 and 2015

4.5 lakh AIDS related deaths averted 

The 2015 HIV estimates reaffirm the sustained declining trend in HIV prevalence and in new HIV infections at the national level in India. While HIV prevalence has overall declined from 0.37% in 2000 through 0.34% in 2007 and now to 0.26% in 2015, new infections in the same period have decreased by 66% to 86,000 in 2015. Rapid scale up of Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) has a very significant impact in producing a drop in AIDS-related deaths by 54% from 2007 to 2015.

Stronger models used to produce estimates and more comprehensive data

The estimates were developed under the leadership of the National Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS)-ICMR with support from experts from AIIMS, NIHFW, UNAIDS, WHO and CDC. Improved, globally recommended modelling instruments were used and new strategic information, including data from India’s latest HIV Sentinel Surveillance among antenatal clinic attendees and the first Integrated Bio Behavioural Surveillance (IBBS) survey conducted at national scale among high risk populations, was analysed to finalise the estimates.

Results of 2015 HIV Estimations

HIV Prevalence
HIV prevalence among adults aged 15-49 years is estimated to have fallen from 0.34% to 0.26% in 2007-2015. Currently adult prevalence is 0.30% among males, and 0.22% among females. Adult prevalence varies significantly across the country with Manipur still having the highest estimated HIV adult prevalence at 1.15%, followed by Mizoram (0.80%), Nagaland (0.78%), Andhra Pradesh &Telangana (0.66%), Karnataka (0.45%), Gujarat (0.42), Goa (0.40%) and Maharashtra (0.37%). Other States/UTs that have an adult prevalence of over 0.20% include in Bihar, Chandigarh, Delhi, Odisha, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Tripura and West Bengal. While declines in adult HIV prevalence persist in all the high prevalence States of South and North-east India, the trend has stabilised in many states like Bihar, Gujarat, Mizoram and Uttar Pradesh. Increasing trends have been detected in a number of States/union territories including Chandigarh, Delhi, Tripura, Punjab, Jharkhand, Haryana and Sikkim.

People Living with HIV (PLHIV)

Nationally, 21.17 lakhs (range of 17.11 lakhs–26.49 lakhs) people were living with HIV at the end of 2015. Among these, around 40% are females, while children (<15 14="" 6.5="" 7="" 8="" 9="" account="" amp="" and="" andhra="" are="" bihar.="" by="" eighteen="" followed="" for="" gujarat="" in="" karnataka="" maharashtra="" of="" percent="" plhiv="" pradesh="" span="" telangana="" these="" years="">

The number of PLHIV has remained relatively stable over the past eight years – 2007 to 2015 –; which were the focus of the present estimates. The number has stabilised because, while a growing number of PLHIV survive longer due to expansion of ART, fewer people are now getting infected with HIV.

Annual New HIV Infections

India HIV Estimates 2015 project 0.86 lakh annual new HIV infections in 2015, a decrease from 2.51 lakh in 2000 and 1.28 lakh in 2007. However, the rate of decrease is slowing down in recent years. New HIV infections during 2007-15 fell faster in children (51%) than in adults (29%). Andhra Pradesh & Telangana, Bihar, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh presently account for 47% of the total new infections among adults. Other states with high numbers of new infections include Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal.

Annual new HIV infections steadily decreased at the National level since the HIV epidemic’s peak in 2000-2001.While HIV infections continue to decline in most States including high HIV burden States, such as Andhra Pradesh& Telangana, Karnataka and Maharashtra, there is a rise in new infections in some states like Assam, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Tripura and Uttar Pradesh.

AIDS-related Deaths

Deaths related to AIDS, according to new improved modelling taking higher survival into account, have declined in the 2007-2015 period from 1.51 lakh to 0.67 lakh. The decrease can largely be attributed to the exponential expansion of ART with its coverage growing at national scale from 1.35 lakh in 2007 to 8.52 in 2014. Overall AIDS-related deaths in India have declined by 54% since 2007. The largest numbers of AIDS-related deaths are taking place in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra and West Bengal. These four States account for 47% of the total AIDS-related deaths. The other states in India where high numbers of AIDS-related deaths are occurring are Gujarat, Karnataka, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh.  According to the new HIV estimations, a total of 4.5 lakhs deaths have been averted from 2007 to 2015.

ART and PPTCT needs

The number of PLHIV in need of ART and the number of pregnant women in need of antiretroviral prophylaxis to prevent parents to child transmission (PPTCT) of HIV in 2015 is estimated at 13.45 lakh and 35 thousands respectively.

Acknowledge achievement of MDG 6, Gear up to End AIDS

The HIV Estimation 2015 show that India has been successful in achieving the MDG 6 goal of halting and reversing the HIV epidemic by 2015. The fact that new infections have declined by 66% from 2000 and 2015, and AIDS-related deaths fallen by 54% from 2007 to 2015, is a concrete proof that India has delivered on its global commitment in achieving MDG 6.

While India’s success story continues, the current estimates highlight key challenges that will need to be addressed with urgency as the programme moves ahead to achieve NACP IV goals in the short term, the 90-90-90 targets in the intermediate term, and to end the AIDS epidemic in the longer term. The slow-down identified in the rate of decrease of new HIV infections in last few years is a key issue, while scope of improvements in ART and PPTCT coverage exists. It is therefore imperative to go beyond consolidating past gains and reinvigorate the inclusive national response in collaboration with all stakeholders, including development partners and civil society, to fast track progress towards commonly agreed targets and goals in order to eliminate the epidemic.

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