J P Nadda, Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare has assured all support to the states for achieving targets of full immunization under Mission Indradhanush. He exhorted them to leave no stone unturned to ensure that the left out and missed out children of the routine immunization program in the country are provided full protection under this nationwide initiative. “We aim to achieve more than 90% full immunization in the country by 2020 under Mission Indradhanush”. The Minister stated this while launching the second phase of the special initiative.
The Health Minister interacted with Health Ministers and Health Secretaries of States through video conferencing and inquired regarding the preparedness of the states to implement the second phase of this initiative which aims to cover all children below 2 years of age and pregnant women with full immunization against seven vaccine preventable diseases. The Health Minister urged the states/UTs to put into practice the lessons learnt during the first phase of Mission Indradhanush for sustained gains. The Minister stated that this would not only help in increasing the immunization coverage in the state but would contribute to strengthening the health systems. He congratulated the states for their cooperation and collective effort, and the Health Ministers and Secretaries for their personal involvement and constant monitoring of the immunization drive.
In the second phase of Mission Indradhanush, 352 districts have been selected including 279 mid priority districts, 33 from the North East states and 40 districts from phase one where large number of missed out children were detected. The second phase will commence from 7th October, 2015 for a week. This will be followed by weeklong intensified immunization drives for three consecutive months, starting from 7th November and 7th December 2015 and 7th January 2016.
The first round of the first phase started from 7 April 2015-World health Day- in 201 high focus districts in 28 states and carried for more than a week. This was followed by three rounds of more than a week in the months of April, May June and July 2015, starting from 7th of each month. The 201 high focus districts account for nearly 50% of all unvaccinated or partially vaccinated children in the country. Of these, 82 districts account for nearly 25% of all unvaccinated or partially vaccinated children of the country. Within the districts, the Mission focused on 4,00,000 high risk settlements identified as pockets with low coverage due to geographic, demographic, ethnic and other operational challenges. These include nomads and migrant labour working on roads, construction sites, riverbed mining areas, brick kilns, and those living in remote and inaccessible geographical areas and urban slums, and the underserved and hard to reach populations dwelling in forested and tribal areas.
During the four rounds of Mission Indradhanush, 9.4 lakh sessions were held, during which about 2 crore vaccines were administered to the children and pregnant women. During these immunization rounds 75.5 lakh children were vaccinated and about 20 lakh children were fully vaccinated. Also, more than 20 lakh pregnant women were vaccinated with tetanus toxoid vaccine during these four rounds. To combat the problem of diarrhoea, zinc tablets and ORS packets were freely distributed to all the children to protect them against diarrhoea. More than 16 lakh ORS packets and about 57 lakh zinc tablets were distributed to the children during these four rounds of Mission Indradhanush.