Monday, 11 May 2015

Mission Indradhanush: India’s take on ‘closing the immunization gap’

On 25th December 2014, the Government of India launched a special drive to vaccinate all unvaccinated and partially vaccinated children and pregnant women by 2020 under the Universal Immunization Programme.

Since the inception of the Universal Immunization Programme in 1985, complete immunization coverage in India has not exceeded 65% despite all efforts. Mission Indradhanush aims at expanding this coverage to more than 90%.

Under the Mission Indradhanush the government has identified about 201 high focus districts across the country. These districts have been identified based on a composite indicator, considering full immunization coverage, number of partially vaccinated and unvaccinated children and weather the district is an identified HPD or EPRP HR district. About 50% of all the partially vaccinated and unvaccinated children of India are in these 201 districts. Intensified routine immunization campaigns would help reduce the mortality due to vaccine preventable diseases in these parts of India. This will be done through special catch-up campaigns to rapidly increase full immunization coverage.

Mission Indradhanush aims at optimizing key functional areas of the immunization programme to ensure high degree of coverage throughout the country with special focus on the identified 201 districts.

The broad strategy based on evidence and best practices, will include four key elements:

1. Careful planning of campaigns/sessions at all levels: All plans and sessions need to be carefully planned at a micro level to ensure availability of sufficient vaccinators and all vaccines during routine immunization sessions. Special plans need to be developed to  reach the unreached children and pregnant women in vacant sub centre areas, areas with missed RI sessions, high risk settlements such as urban slums, construction sites, brick kilns, nomadic sites, and hard to reach areas identified under the polio eradication initiatives etc.

2. Effective Communication and social mobilization efforts: To create awareness and need for immunization services through need based communication strategies to enhance participation of the community in the routine immunization programme through mass media, inter personal conversation, youth networks etc.

3. Intensive training of health officials and frontline staff: To build the capacity of health officials and workers in routine immunization activities to help deliver quality immunization services.

4. Establish accountability framework through task forces: To increase the accountability and involvement of the district administrative and health machinery by strengthening the district task force for immunization in all districts of India.

Mission Indradhanush has the potential to deliver a complete 360degree package of solution to achieve high quality routine immunization coverage through a collaborative process involvin all major stakeholders and adopting the learning from the polio eradication programme in planning and implementation of the mission.

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