Jan 232014

With the cases of new diseases being reported, the demand for antigen for immunization against them has been growing. While there are 27 types of vaccines available worldwide, Nepalese get only ten antigens, exposing them to serious health threats.

The multi-year immunization programme endorsed by the Ministry of Health and Population has targeted to add four more basic vaccines to its vault by 2016.

These include Pneumococcal and rotavirus vaccination which are remedies to pneumonia and diarrhoea, respectively.

However, the major challenge for the stakeholders is the cost that will swell after additional vaccines are introduced. At present, over 60 percent of the total immunization cost is born by donors while the government share of the expenditure is limited to 40 percent.

The government has made efforts to explore alternatives for the financial sustainability of the expanded immunization programme. As an initiative, the government is working on creating the Immunization Trust Fund (ITF), which will raise funds from the government, donors and corporate agencies.

Recently, the Ministry of Health and Population endorsed a regulation to initiate the process for setting up the fund. “It’s the duty of the government to maintain the ongoing immunization programme with its own might. We may not always get support from donor organizations,” said Dr. Shyam Upreti, the chief of the Immunization Division under the Department of Health. Therefore, the fund will be used as a sustainable source for financing the immunization programme in the coming day.s

After the ITF comes to effect, there will be one-door policy for the immunization programme. The Interim Constitution guarantees people’s right to health and immunization.

According to Upreti, various internationally tested vaccines have not been adopted in Nepal due to the lack of adequate funds. The vaccines being used in the country target children, with no measures for the immunization of elderly people. The annual cost of immunization at present is Rs. 1.6 billion – Rs. 3,000 per child. It will increase significantly with the introduction of four new antigens possibly by 2016.

Immunization has a pivotal role in reducing under-five mortality to 38 and infant deaths to 32 per 1,000 live births by 2015, as envisioned by the Millennium Development Goals in Health.

Oct 042012

The identity of any nation or community is determined by its custom, language and religion. Nepal is the only Hindu Kingdom of the world with religious tolerance. Nepal has given the shelter to many religious like Buddhism, Islam, Jainism and others beside Hinduism. All these religious sects have lived in peace, harmony and solidarity since ages.

They respect each other’s religions, customs and traditions. Unity in diversity is the major characteristic of Nepal and the Nepalese people. Religious faith and belief are the major values and norms of the society. They should be compulsorily followed by every person. If anybody doesn’t follow the traditional norms and values, he is regarded as a great sinner and a heretic. Though Nepalese are poor and there illiterate and are orthodox in their religious beliefs, religious salvation is regarded as their ultimate goal in life. Religion can play a significant role to eradicate traditional evils and launch social development activities.

But the religious belief sometimes has an adverse effect on the family planning programmes launched to reduce population growth.

A. Early marriage (child marriage)
From social and religious point of view, the Nepalese people follow a tradition of marrying their children at an early age. In rural areas, people still believe that if they can see the face of grandson at early age, then only they will go to the heaven. It is an auspicious act for them if they marry their daughter before her first menstruation. Due to such religious and social traditions, about 40 percent daughters are married before they reach the age of 16. As a result, several children are born before their mothers reach the age of thirty. Thus, having married at an early age, women in Nepal have a long period of fertility. This is one of the reasons for the rapid growth of population.

B. Preference to son
The wish to have sons rather than daughters is the result of religious belief and culture. In all societies in Nepal, a son is looked upon as a form of wealth. People cherish the belief that more sons earn more money and they can look after their parents in their twilight years. There still remains a belief that after the death of parents, their sons will open the gates to heaven for their departed souls. The materials of earthy life will be presented to them in the form of Shraddha ceremony, and if their sons actually carry out this act, they can enjoy eternal life in heaven. This belief is deep rooted in the minds of religious people. It is for this reason that even though there are four or five daughters already at home, the parents wish to have a son after them. The other reasons for greater preference to sons are son’s right to inherit parental property and continuation given to the family race by the sons.

 C. Children – the gift of god
In Nepal, whenever the elders bless the younger ones, it’s with the words, ‘may your children spread far and wide and be as numerous as the stars in the sky’. The person having more children is regarded the luckiest and richest person. So that, many couples want to earn good prestige by bearing more children.

Thus many programmes have been brought to bring change in traditional concept that gives priority to have more children. But, people, still have religious concepts deeply rooted. They have the faith that the more the god gives them the more prosperous they become. This has directly contributed to growth of population.