Intensified Mission Indradhanush
Partially immunized and unimmunized children are most susceptible to childhood diseases and are at higher risk of dying. Every year in India, 5 lakh children die due to vaccine preventable diseases (2014 data). But, immunizing children goes beyond saving individual lives; It helps in preventing large-scale outbreaks of diseases as well as keeping the disease under control in an area, thus reducing the stress on an already burdened health system. Thus, full immunization is critical for reducing child mortality and progressing on socio-economic indicators.
Universal Immunization Program (UIP)
To ensure Full immunization against preventable childhood diseases, the Government of India launched the Universal Immunization Program (UIP) in 1985. However, despite being operational for over 30 years, UIP was able to fully immunize only 65% children in the first year of their life by 2013. Also the increase in coverage from 2009-13 stagnated to an average of 1% every year. To strengthen and invigorate UIP, Union Government launched Mission Indradhanush in 2014.
Objective of Mission Indradhanush is to achieve full immunization coverage by 2020 for all those children under the age of two years and pregnant women who are either unvaccinated/partially vaccinated against ‘7’ vaccine preventable diseases viz. diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, polio, tuberculosis, measles, and hepatitis B. In addition to these, vaccines for Japanese Encephalitis and Haemophilus influenzae type B are also being provided in selected states.
In 2016, four new additions have been made viz. Rubella, Japanese Encephalitis, Injectable Polio Vaccine Bivalent and Rotavirus. It was decided that 201 districts will be covered in the first phase and 297 districts will be targeted for the second phase in 2015.
Mass media, interpersonal communication and in-depth evaluation of the scheme are crucial components of Mission Indradhanush.
- Some of the challenges to immunization include limited capacities of staff, particularly in poor-performing states and at the field level, and gaps in key areas such as predicting demand, logistics and cold chain management, which result in high wastage rates.
- India also still lacks a robust system to track vaccine preventable diseases.
- Vaccination coverage varies considerably from state to state,
- Differences in uptake are geographical, regional, rural-urban, poor-rich and gender-related.
- On average, girls receive fewer immunizations than boys.
Intensified Mission Indradhanush (IMI)
In October 2017, the government launched Intensified Mission Indradhanush (IMI) to cover all left outs and drop outs in select districts and urban areas with low routine immunization coverage in a specific time-frame (December 2018). IMI will focus on children up to 2 years of age and pregnant women who have missed out on routine immunization. However, vaccination on demand to children up to 5 years of age will be provided during IMI rounds. Starting from October 7, 2017, states will carry out Intensified Mission Indradhanush drives for seven working days the from 7th day of every month starting from for four consecutive months.