Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of Sanofi, has announced an initiative to educate parents in India about the seriousness of influenza (also known as flu) and preventing it amongst young children. Reportedly, renowned film personality, Farhan Akhtar, has chosen to spread awareness about flu prevention. Farhan’s messages will reach people via mass media and in-clinic as well.
Speaking about the initiative, Jean-Pierre Baylet, Country Head – Sanofi Pasteur India, said, that influenza is a serious and contagious disease that often gets mistaken for common cold. As seen during the early part of the year, influenza outbreaks can cause significant morbidity and mortality and strain the health care system. According to the WHO, the principal way of reducing Influenza burden is by vaccination. However, lack of awareness is a limiting factor in vaccine usage.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), annually influenza affects 5-15% of the global population but the rates can reach 40 – 50% in high risk groups. In India, millions are increasingly exposed to influenza and its life threatening health complications. During the recent outbreak early this year, the virus affected around 33,000 people, with over 2000 fatal cases.
Since 2011, under its corporate initiative, ‘I for Immunisation’, Sanofi Pasteur India has conducted various awareness drives, such as launching a Facebook page called ‘Mothers against flu’; multiple contests to generate ideas for increasing immunization awareness and rural awareness programs in Gujarat and urban schools across the country wherein parents, students, and teachers have been educated about the importance and ways of prevention against diseases such as flu.