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50 pc school kids prone to chickenpox: study
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, February 20
As many as 50 per cent of schoolchildren in the industrial capital of the state are not vaccinated against chickenpox and thus, run the risk of contracting the highly contagious disease. A similar trend is prevalent almost all over the country which is evident from the case of the national capital where just about 31 per cent of the schoolchildren are immunised against the disease.

This has been revealed from a nationwide study 'Your Power to Protect' which was conducted among the schoolchildren in several major towns across the country by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), one of the world's leading vaccine manufacturers. The study revealed that a majority of schoolchildren covered under the survey were unprotected against chicken pox. This clearly indicated that a majority of them might be at risk of being afflicted with the disease (if they had not already suffered from chicken pox) all over India.

"If the situation of vaccination of children against chicken pox in the city is alarming, it is worse in many other metros and major cities," says the study. "In Hyderabad only 32 per cent schoolchildren are vaccinated against the disease, in Mumbai 36 per cent, Kolkata 37 per cent, Chennai 40 per cent, Jaipur 41 per cent, Pune and Ahmedabad each 42 per cent while Bangalore tops the list where 51 per cent school children are immunised."

The first phase of 'Your Power To Protect' programme focused on creating awareness about the importance of preventing disease for a healthy life and safeguarding the future of children. The year-long programme was implemented across 10 cities in India and received active participation from over 270 schools and covered some 76,000 schoolchildren.

According to a World Health Organisation report, chickenpox is experienced by almost every child or young adult in the world. It is a highly contagious disease, causing tremendous discomfort to the affected child and the family; and can be the cause of absenteeism from school or the work place, adversely impacting important events like examinations. Vaccination is the only effective method to prevent chickenpox and is a safe, convenient and affordable way to save the child from discomfort associated with chickenpox.

"I see a lot of chickenpox cases during the months of January and February which is exam time for kids", said a noted physician, while another general practitioner remarked, "We have been seeing fresh cases of chickenpox regularly and as annual examinations are fast approaching, parents need to take adequate preventive measures for their children; like vaccination."

The study noted that children spent most of their day at school, an environment that should be clean and free from germs or infections. Infectious diseases could spread rapidly in such an environment. The children being architects of the future and schools playing a major role in shaping them, the responsibility of ensuring health and wellness of the children rested not only with their parents, but also with the schools.

In particular, the schools played a very important role and could help prevent the spread of communicable diseases, such as chickenpox by sharing appropriate information and implementing necessary guidelines. A spokesperson of GSK added that 'Your Power To Protect' programme was the social responsibility initiative of the company whose objective was to instill the importance of protection against disease and preventive healthcare for wellness among children, their families, and society at large.

GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals, said the spokesperson, distributed more than 1.2 billion doses of vaccines to 165 countries in both the developed and developing world, more than three million doses per day during 2005. Almost nine in every ten doses were paediatric vaccines and one in every 10 were combination vaccines intended to prevent up to six diseases at the same time. In India, the division led the represented vaccine market with a 51 per cent market share. 

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50 students donate blood
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 20
As many as 50 NSS volunteers and NCC cadets donated blood at a blood donation camp organised at Devki Devi Jain Memorial College for Women here today.

The camp was organised under the joint guidance of Ms Lotika Gupta, Ms Seema Soni, both NSS Programme Officers and Ms Robina, NCC In charge of the college.

A team of doctors including Dr Nitin Paul and Dr Vishwadeep Dhillon from the department of Transfusion Medicine at Dayanand Medical College and Hospital supervised the camp. The blood collected at the camp would be used for the benefit of thalassemic patients in the DMCH.

Mr Prem Gupta, Principal of the college inaugurated the camp and several other members of the managing committee were also present on the occasion.

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APS House bag overall trophy
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, February 20
A large number of students representing various houses took part in the XXIst Athletics Meet at Gujranwala Guru Nanak Public School, Rose Garden, here, yesterday. APS House accumulated 372 points to bag the overall championship trophy.

In the u-19 years category, Rohit Kumar Chibber and Manpreet Kaur Ahluwalia were declared the best athletes among boys and girls, respectively, while Ramandeep Singh and Jaspreet Kaur were adjudged the best athletes in the u-16 years section.

In the boy's u-14 years category, Suraj was named the best athlete while in the girl's section, the honour was shared by Arshpreet and Sargur.

Mr Harmohinder Singh and Mr Kuljeet Singh, joint secretary and assistant secretary, respectively of the Gujranwala Guru Nanak Khalsa Educational Council gave away prizes to the winners. Ms Satpreet Kaur, Principal of the school, along with faculty members was present on this occasion.

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