Janani Barath and Dr Ranjan Pejaver, the persons who have revolutionized India’s vaccination process through ‘IAP-ImmunizeIndia’
It was hard for Janani Barath to balance everything when she had newly entered motherhood. She had to struggle between her responsibilities towards her new born baby and household works, and other schedule works. In the process, she didn’t even realize that she had missed two routine vaccinations for her baby. Though she quickly made it up, but it struck her mind that there may be so many other parents like her, who forget the vaccination process due to the whorl of parenthood. She decided to do something about the problem.
Janani Barath started working with a Bengaluru based paediatrician, Dr Ranjan Kumar Pejaver. After seven years, the team came up with a free text messaging reminder service to ensure that mothers take their children for their shots on time. The IAP-ImmunizeIndia service was rolled out as a pilot program in 2013 and in March 2014, it was launched nationwide.
Now, through IAP-Immunizeindia, the world’s largest vaccination reminder service, nearly 4.6 lakh parents get alerts about vaccination schedules. It has been adopted by the Indian Academy of Paediatrics. Even, the World Health Organization has evinced interest in replicating the method in Latin America. When parents enroll for the free service by texting the child’s name and date of birth, the reminders pop up for the next 12 years, till all the vaccinations are completed. Total three reminders are sent to the parents; two before the due date and one after.
My mother was shocked when I first told her that I had missed vaccination for my son. She asked me what was more important. I felt so guilty and wished there had been someone to remind me. That’s when the thought of a reminder service using technology struck me. I knocked the doors of many hospitals and finally founded Immunization India Charities. Said, Janani Barath.
Dr Ranjan Kumar Pejaver, who is a renown paediatrician and an honorary professor of Neonatology, explains that nearly 1.5 million children under the age of 5 die every year in the country and 1 million or more are disabled because they are not vaccinated. The major reason being, parents often forget to vaccinate the child on time as most of them do not maintain a vaccination calendar for their child.
This is seen in both urban and rural areas. For the first three months, the new mother is very careful as the family chips in and helps her. Once she returns to work, immunization is postponed or forgotten. But immunization if missed has repercussions. That’s what we want to prevent. Said, Dr Pejaver
IAP-Immunizeindia, the national non-profit initiative aims to prevent half a million child deaths and disabilities by 2018. IAP-Immunizeindia is supported by Vodafone, which is the national telecom partner. Parents who want to opt for the service can send a text message through SMS, to the national shortcode 566778 from any mobile phone in India. To know further about the service, please visit the website of IAP-Immunizeindia.
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