United Nations, Apr 25 (PTI) India is among the countries to see a significant increase in the number of vaccinated children since 2010 yet it still had about 15 per cent of the world's unimmunized children as of 2016, the UN said.
At the start of World Immunization Week , the United Nations said that while vaccines are protecting more children than ever, more countries need to make immunization a priority, because more than one million children still die every year from vaccine-preventable diseases.
"Last year, it is estimated that vaccines saved the lives of as many as three million children," said Robin Nandy, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) Chief of Immunization.
It said a number of countries have seen a significant increase in the number of vaccinated children since 2010, driving most of the gains in immunization coverage this decade, including India, Ethiopia, Congo, Bangladesh, Philippines, Mexico, Tanzania, Vietnam, Turkey and Sudan.
In India, the number of unvaccinated children reduced by 45 per cent, from 5.3 million in 2010 to 2.9 million in 2016.
However, as of 2016, six countries accounted for half of the world's unimmunized children - Nigeria (18%); India (15%); Pakistan (7%); Indonesia (5%); Ethiopia (4%); and Congo (3%).
UN said the top 10 countries where vaccination coverage, in percentage points, has increased between 2010 and 2016 are Palau (29%), Malta (21%), Congo (19%), Comoros (17%), Azerbaijan (16%), Ethiopia (16%), Timor-Leste (13%), Barbados (11%), Costa Rica (9%) and India (9%).
Despite solid progress, UNICEF points out that in 2016, approximately one-fourth of deaths among children under five were from pneumonia, diarrhoea and measles, and could have been mostly prevented by vaccines.
Also troubling is that more than 19 million children round the world miss routine vaccinations, including 13 million who have never been inoculated.
Low immunization coverage compromises health gains throughout communities at risk, for mothers, children and the poorest – all of whom need it most. Two-thirds of unvaccinated children live in fragile or conflict-affected countries, including Syria, which saw the sharpest decline in inoculated children between 2010 and 2016.
"We continue to work with governments on the ground, including in places affected by conflict, in support of these unsung heroes who take on this extremely dangerous work to save lives," Nandy said.
The UN World Health Organization meanwhile pointed out that vaccines protect people from more than deadly diseases, saying: "If we increase vaccine coverage in low- and middle-income countries by 2030, we could prevent 24 million people from falling into poverty due to health expenses."
World Immunisation Week, which runs from April 24-30, shines a spotlight on global public health to increase rates of immunization against vaccine-preventable diseases around the world.
Disclaimer :- This story has not been edited by Outlook staff and is auto-generated from news agency feeds. Source: PTI