On December 25, 2014, the Union Health & Family Welfare Ministry launched yet another programme to strengthen the healthcare of children in the country. This has been named as ‘Mission Indradhanush’ and was launched by Union Health Minister JP Nadda on the occasion of Good Governance Day, which was earmarked to celebrate the birth anniversary of freedom-fighter Bharat Ratna the late Madan Mohan Malaviya and the birthday of former Prime Minister Bharat Ratna Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Objective of the programme
To achieve full immunization coverage for all children in the country by 2020.
It has been reported that during the period between 2009 and 2013, the coverage of immunization in the country increased from 61% to 65%. This meant that there was an increase of only 1% immunization in each year during the last seven years, which is very less, considering the increase in population, every year. Also it is seen that there are certain diseases, which have become the main cause of deaths of a large number of children in the country, could be prevented by immunization. Mission Indradhanush was launched to speed up the process of immunization . The target of full coverage is set to be achieved by the year 2020.
Diseases to be covered
The plan aims at providing immunization for seven diseases which can be prevented by vaccination:
- Whooping cough
- Hepatitis B
Mission Indradhanush covers seven diseases like Indradhanush or Rainbow has seven colours. The programme will provide vaccination to children who are either not vaccinated at all or partially vaccinated against these seven diseases. These diseases are dangerous and affect the lives of many children but can be prevented by vaccination. The plan is to cover all children by 2020 and achieve full immunization. The programme will be implemented phase-wise, firstly covering those districts where half of the children are not vaccinated at all. Between January and June 2015, four special vaccination campaigns will be conducted under the mission. Around 201 districts will be covered in the first phase and 297 will be targeted in the second phase.
Districts to be covered
There are 201 high focus districts which have been identified in the country to be covered in the mission in the first phase. Of the majority of the districts in this first phase, around 82 districts are in the States of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. These four States have at least 25% of the children not vaccinated or partially vaccinated.
- Immunization will be speeded up and improved in all the districts that are to be covered.
- This immunization drive will emphasise on “catch-up” campaign, which means that all children who have missed vaccination or were left out will be targeted for immunization.
- The procedure used in the successful implementation of the pulse polio programme will be applied in this mission.
- The Union Health & Family Welfare Ministry will be supported by UNICEF, WHO, Rotary International and other donor partners for the successful implementation of the Indradhanush Mission.