Central government takes on Uttar Pradesh over immunization

September 22nd, 2008 - 3:50 pm ICT by IANS  

Lucknow, Sep 22 (IANS) The Uttar Pradesh government’s health machinery is cooking up statistics so that it can attack the central government, the health ministry in New Delhi has alleged.A letter from the central health minitry, received by Uttar Pradesh chief secretary Atul Kumar Gupta here Monday, is a strong rebuttal of various allegations levelled against the central government by Uttar Pradesh health minister Anant Kumar Misra and the department’s principal secretary Neeta Chaudhary at a joint press conference here last week.

Raising serious objections to the allegations and criticising the state’s performance on several health counts, the letter urges the chief secretary to personally take stock of the situation in order to correct the records.

The central government is evidently upset by the allegation made by Misra and Chaudhury about “inadequate supply of vaccines for dreaded diseases including Japanese encephalitis, measles and others”.

According to the letter signed by union health secretary Naresh Dayal, “Uttar Pradesh government has been over-reporting coverage of children and therefore inflating its requirement”.

It says: “The recently conducted DLHS-3 survey has shown that the actual coverage of children receiving full immunization is only 30.3 percent, whereas the Uttar Pradesh government has reported it around 95 percent.”

Even on coverage of DPT, measles and BCG, the central government says the immunization figures given by the Uttar Pradesh government are highly inflated. As against Uttar Pradesh’s claims of 98.2 percent DPT, 96.9 percent measles and 104.2 percent BCG coverage, the actual figures have turned out to be as low as 38 percent, 47 percent and 73 percent respectively, the letter says.

The whereabouts of the surplus vaccines is a mystery. Chaudhary remained evasive on the issue, while she was livid with the central government for “neglecting the state”.

The health secretary’s letter to Uttar Pradesh chief secretary also strongly refutes the state government’s claims with respect to maintenance of cold chain, required to ensure the efficacy of the vaccines.

Contradicting Uttar Pradesh’s charge about central government not providing the equipment for maintaining cold chain, the letter states: “As far as cold chain is concerned, GOI (Government of India) has supplied refrigerators, deep freezers in accordance with the requirement of Uttar Pradesh government for the year 2007-2008″. Requirement for the year 2008-2009 was in the pipeline, says the letter.

It seeks to further draw the Uttar Pradesh government’s attention to “huge shortfalls” in various flexi pools under National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), including immunization and reproductive child health (RCH). It has also expressed displeasure over the state’s performance on “operationalisation of important institutions like Rogi Kalyan Samitis which are at the core of NRHM”.

Regarding supplies related to medicines and rapid diagnostic kits for malaria, teh central government says it has already supplied chloroquin and primaquin as per the state’s requirement. “Even though Uttar Pradesh is not among the Plasmodium falciparum endemic (highly malaria prone) states and does not require rapid diagnostic kits, still one lakh (100,000) test kits are being diverted from Jharkhand only to fulfil Uttar Pradesh’s demand,” the letter adds.

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