To ensure that not a single child in the country misses out on vaccination, the government will launch the 'Intensified Mission Indradhanush 2.0' on October 31 with a special focus on improving coverage in areas with "low" immunisation.
Through 'IMI 2.0', to be launched as part of the silver jubilee celebrations of the Pulse Polio Programme, the health ministry aims to reach each and every child below the age of two years and all pregnant women still uncovered/partially covered in 271 districts of the country and 652 blocks of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
Further, 16 district collectors who have been able to achieve 90 per cent immunisation coverage in their respective districts during the previous rounds of the mission (2017-18), will be felicitated, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said.
The current national full immunisation coverage rate stands at 87 per cent.
According to government data, 260 lakh children are born every year and an estimated 31 lakh out of them would not receive complete rounds of vaccination in the first year of their life due to various reasons.
"These 271 districts and 652 blocks in UP and Bihar which have been identified as low immunisation coverage pockets. We aim to target every child below the age of two years and pregnant women left uncovered under the existing immunisation programme in these areas," a senior official said.
IMI 2.0 will include four rounds of vaccination, with each round involving a seven-day immunisation drive to be conducted each month from December 2 onwards.
"Let us renew our pledge to reach every single child to save them from vaccine preventable disease," Vardhan said addressing the media on the celebration of the silver jubilee of the Pulse Polio programme.
"India being declared polio free in 2014 was a long and momentous journey. It all began with a single thought that if ballot papers can reach each person, two life saving drops of vaccination too can reach every child.
"The success of administering polio vaccination drops to 12 lakh children through 4000 'polio kendras' on October 2 in 1994 in Delhi, led to a countrywide movement and Pulse Polio Programme was taken up countrywide a year later in 1995," Vardhan said as he thanked all stakeholders who contributed to the campaign which led to the eradication of polio from India.
The minister said the best practices and the systems established by the Pulse Polio Programme have benefitted other health programs like the community mobilisation, logistics management, reaching the last mile or setting up a surveillance system.
The learnings from Pulse Polio Programme have helped implementation of other immunisation programmes like the Mission Indradhanush (MI) and the Intensified Mission Indradhanush (IMI).
"Since the Modi government took charge in 2014, the universal immunisation basket of vaccines has been expanded as we provide vaccines for 12 diseases."
The IMI programme is supported by 12 ministries and departments and is being monitored by the cabinet secretary at the national level.
"Mission Indradhanush and related drives have successfully reached out to and vaccinated 3.39 crore children and 87.2 lakh pregnant women in India so far. The hallmark of these drives has been strong political commitment, strong convergence with 12 other ministries like Ministries of Women and Child Development, Home Affairs, Tribal Affairs, Human Resource, Youth and Sports among others," he said.
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