By Health In Five Writer
“India is implementing the largest immunisation programme globally where we annually cover more than 3 crore pregnant women and 2.6 crore children through the Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP)”. Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare stated while launching Intensified Mission Indradhanush (IMI) 4.0 virtually today in presence of health officials of States and Union Territories. Shri Keshab Mahanta, Health Minister of Assam and Shri Rushikesh Patel, Health Minister of Gujarat virtually participated.
Intensified Mission Indradhanush 4.0 will have three rounds and will be conducted in 416 districts (including 75 districts identified for Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav) across 33 States/UTs in the country. In the first round (Feb-April 2022), 11 states will conduct IMI 4.0. These are Assam, Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Jammu & Kashmir, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tripura and Chhattisgarh. The others (22 states) will conduct the rounds from April to May 2022. These states/UTs include Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha, Bihar, Puducherry, Delhi, Punjab, Goa, Tamil Nadu, Haryana, Telangana, Jharkhand, Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, A & N Islands.
On the occasion, the Union Health Minister saluted the commitment and dedication of the frontline vaccinators who brave difficult terrain and weather to ensure that the farthest village and household are covered with the protection of vaccines. “The health care workers are providing a great service to the nation. Their dedication is an inspiration to me and to others for contributing to nation building”, he added.
Dr. Mandaviya expressed satisfaction that our efforts have been reflected in the latest National Family Health Survey which has indicated increased coverage. “Vaccines are one of the most effective, affordable and safe methods to protect infants, children and pregnant women from diseases and mortality. With the aim to increase the Full Immunisation Coverage, Hon. Prime Minister launched Mission Indradhanush in December 2014 to cover the partially and unvaccinated pregnant women and children in pockets of low immunization coverage, high-risk and hard-to-reach areas and protect them from vaccine preventable diseases”, he said. Under Mission Indradhanush, all vaccines under Universal Immunization Program (UIP) are provided as per National Immunization Schedule. Mission Indradhansuh was also identified as one of the flagship schemes under Gram Swaraj Abhiyan (16,850 villages across 541 districts) and Extended Gram Swaraj Abhiyan (48,929 villages across 112 aspirational districts).
Dr. Mandaviya noted that while pace of routine immunization has slowed down due to COVID pandemic, IMI 4.0 will immensely contribute in filling the gaps and make lasting gains towards Universal Immunization. It will ensure that Routine Immunization (RI) services reach the unvaccinated and partially vaccinated children and pregnant women, he added.
Highlighting the important role of vaccines in public health, the Union Health Minister highlighted the achievements of the country-wide COVID19 vaccination drive under which around 170 crore doses of COVID vaccines have been administered till date. This achievement of India has been acknowledged and applauded globally, he added. He emphasised on the need of “Sabka Prayas” and “Jan Lok Bhaagidaari” to achieve the goal of universal immunisation in the country. “Only with the collective and collaborative efforts of the Centre, the States and beneficiaries shall we be able to achieve the target of full immunization coverage in the country”, he stated. He urged the States to work holistically at different levels, coordinating with district administration, panchayats and the urban local bodies.
The Union Health Minister virtually launched the IMI 4.0 portal and released the “Operational Guidelines for IMI 4.0”, “Strengthening Immunization in Urban Areas-A framework for Action” and a handbook for “Mahila Arogya Samiti on Urban Immunization” and awareness material/IEC package developed as part of the campaign.
Till date, ten phases of Mission Indradhanush have been completed covering 701 districts across the country. As of April 2021, during the various phases of Mission Indradhanush, a total of 3.86 crore children and 96.8 lakh pregnant women have been vaccinated. The first two phases of Mission Indradhanush resulted in 6.7% increase in full immunization coverage in a year. A survey (IMI- CES) carried out in 190 districts covered in Intensified Mission Indradhanush (5th phase of Mission Indradhanush) shows 18.5% points increase in full immunization coverage as compared to NFHS-4. As a result of continuous efforts over the years for strengthening routine immunization and immunization intensification drives conducted from time to time, the immunization coverage has shown a considerable improvement as per the latest reports of National Family Health Survey (2019-21) as compared to National Family Health Survey -4(2015-16). The Full Immunization Coverage among children aged 12-23 months of age has increased from 62% (NFHS-4) to 76.4% (NFHS-5).
Three rounds of IMI 4.0 have been planned to catch up on the gaps that might have emerged due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The activity will be conducted in 416 districts across 33 states/UTs. These districts have been identified based on vaccination coverage as per the latest National Family Health Survey-5 report, Health Management Information System (HMIS) data and burden of vaccine preventable diseases. The districts suggested by states have also been included. Considering the recent upsurge of COVID-19 cases, states have been given the flexibility of carrying out the activity either from February 2022- April 2022 or from March to May 2022. The first round will start from 7th February 2022 onwards, the second will be from 7th March 2022, and the third round will be from 4th April 2022. Unlike the past, each round will be conducted for seven days, including RI days, Sundays, and public holidays. However, considering the recent peak in COVID cases, States have been accorded the flexibility of conducting the drives from Mach to May 2022. 11 of the 33 states have planned to go ahead with the February – April 2022 schedule.