The Kerala government on Tuesday made vaccination compulsory for school admissions to Class 1 from the 2018-’19 academic year. Parents will have to show details of immunisation shots given to children during enrolment in school.
State Health Minister KK Shailaja released the new draft health policy in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday. Certain communities in Kerala have opposed the vaccination drive. In Malappuram and Kozhikode districts, several diphtheria cases were discovered in 2017.
“On the health front, Kerala is a role model for other states,” the Hindustan Times quoted Shailaja as saying. “We will not allow those who are planning to foil this record. The government will take strict action against persons who carry out a misinformation campaign against vaccines.”
Other provisions of the new policy include a standard treatment guideline for all hospitals, including private institutions, and transgender clinics at all district hospitals, The Indian Express reported. An antibiotic guidelines committee will also be formed to prepare a policy for antibiotics.
“One of the major challenges is spiralling cost of treatment, as growing treatment cost has turned many people into paupers,” Shailaja said. “Privatisation of the health sector, changes in medical technology, emergence of new medicines, failure of governments to strengthen and modernise the public health sector – all have contributed to this.”
The draft policy aims to reduce maternal mortality rate from 66 per lakh to 30 per lakh in the short term, and infant mortality from 12 per lakh to eight. It aims to reduce neonatal mortality from seven per lakh to five. The draft envisages a new Kerala Public Health Act to cover all issues in the health sector.