Countries in South and Southeast Asia are going through unprecedented economic growth despite uncertainties in the global economic situation. To be able to maintain this upward trend countries need to secure the health of their citizens _ especially the children. A high mortality rate among among the under fives threatens overall economic development in the region. Approximately 10 million children in the World Health Organisation's (WHO) South-East Asia Region remain at risk from diseases like measles, diphtheria, whooping cough and tetanus, all of which are vaccine preventable.
Immunisation is one of the most cost-effective health interventions that can prevent disease and death among millions of children. It is vital that countries allocate adequate funds for these vaccines. APICHART JINAKUL
So why is this region leaving so many children behind? Even in countries with over 80-90% immunisation coverage the challenge is equity. Children who are outside the vaccine protective shelter are often the poor and marginalised. These children are vulnerable to diseases because of malnutrition, unhygienic living conditions, poor water quality etc. Once sick, healthcare costs further impoverish their families. Parents who earn a daily wage have to look after ailing children while they use up their savings and miss out on their daily earnings, pushing them further down the poverty ladder.
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