India hopes to replicate Pulse Polio strategy to immunise its children

JP NaddaN.B. Nair | Indian Science Journal

New Delhi (ISJ) ? India has launched an ambitious mission to reduce the burden of unvaccinated children, which currently is the highest in any country. The mission, to be achieved in the next five years, will see borrowing the strategy employed to eradicate polio from the country. Every year an estimated 2.64 births take place in India, out of which 89 lakhs do not receive all vaccines against seven life-threatening diseases.

India had the highest number of under-five deaths in the world ? 1.3 million in 2013, which accounts for 21% of the global figure of children under five died from mostly preventable causes, according to UNICEF Report on Child Mortality 2014.

?Swatch Bharat cannot be possible without Swasth Children,? said Jagat Prakash Nadda, India?s Health Minister, launching Mission Indradhanush in New Delhi on Monday (Mar 23). Indradhanush in Hindi or Sanskrit means rainbow, and the seven colours represent the seven life-threatening diseases - diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, polio, tuberculosis, measles and hepatitis B.

There are 201 districts in the country, which are high priority areas ? mostly in four states of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Odisha.

Indradhanush 2303Nadda said, micro plans developed to make the Mission mode successful will draw on the lessons learned from the Polio eradication towards system strengthening, vaccine cold chain management, regular surveillance and monitoring of the plans to reach each and every left out and uncovered child.

The week-long drive will start on World Health Day on April 7 and repeated on 7th of the following four months. It will cover all children under the age of two and pregnant women in 201 priority districts in the first phase. The routine immunization drive, however, will continue.

Director General of Health Services, Dr. Jagadish Prasad said, a country like Cuba could achieve health index better than that of an advanced country like USA only because of immunisation. He sought to make Immunisation Chart compulsory alongwith birth certificate for admission to primary classes.

Image courtesy: Ministry of Health & FW

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