Full immunization against preventable childhood diseases is the right of every child. With a view to provide this right to every child, the Government of India launched the Universal Immunization Program (UIP) in 1985, one of the largest health programs of its kind in the world.
Despite being operational for over 30 years, UIP has been able to fully immunize only 65% children in the first year of their life and the increase in coverage has stagnated in the past 5 years to an average of 1% every year.
To strengthen and invigorate the program and achieve full immunization coverage for all children at a rapid pace, the Government of India launched Mission Indradhanush in December 2014.
Mission Indradhanush will ensure that all children under the age of two years and pregnant women are fully immunized with all available vaccines.
Simply put - because children are dying due to entirely preventable diseases.
Every year in India, 5 lakh children die due to vaccine-preventable diseases.
Another 89 lakh children remain at risk, because they are either unimmunized or partially immunized against vaccine-preventable diseases.
Partially immunized and unimmunized children are most susceptible to childhood diseases and are at a much higher risk of dying as compared to fully immunized children. If that were not reason enough, immunizing children can go well beyond saving individual lives. It can help in preventing large-scale outbreaks of diseases as well as keeping the disease under control in an area, thus reducing the stress on an already burdened health system.
Thus, full immunization is critical if we want to reduce child mortality and progress on socio-economic indicators.
The ultimate goal of Mission Indradhanush is to ensure full immunization with all available vaccines for children up to two years and pregnant women.
The Mission is strategically designed to achieving high quality routine immunization coverage while contributing to strengthening health systems that can be sustained over years to come. In the last few years, India’s full immunization coverage has increased only by 1% per year. The Mission has been launched to accelerate the process of immunization and achieve full immunization coverage for all children in the country.
The Government has identified 201 high focus districts across 28 states in the country that have the highest number of partially immunized and unimmunized children.
Mission Indradhanush will target these districts through intensive efforts and special immunization drives to improve the routine immunization coverage in the country.
To know more about how this takes place, click here.
Keeping up with its commitment to improve immunization coverage and addressing equity, MoHFW, GoI has implemented various intensification strategies including its flagship program, “Mission Indradhanush” launched in December 2014. Mission Indradhanush aimed to fully immunize more than 90% of new-borns by 2020 through innovative and planned approaches to reach all children. Under Mission Indradhanush, all the vaccines provided under Universal Immunization Program were administered to children and pregnant women. A total of 528 districts were covered during the various phases of Mission Indradhanush.
While acknowledging the impact of Mission Indradhanush in improving immunization coverage across the districts over the three phases, Hon’ble Prime Minister through PRAGATI platform, emphasized the need of a supplemental aggressive action plan to cover all left outs and drop outs in select districts and urban areas with low routine immunization coverage in a specific time-frame (December 2018).
In the light of the above, Government of India is introducing “Intensified Mission Indradhanush (IMI)” in select districts and urban areas of the country to achieve the target of more than 90% coverage.
The strategy of IMI is to cover all left outs and drop outs in select districts and urban areas with low routine immunization coverage in a specific time-frame (December 2018). These districts will focus on improving immunization coverage through need based interventions in Intensified Mission Indradhanush drives, based on a comprehensive gap analysis, with strengthened involvement of relevant non-health departments and enhanced accountability frameworks. The gains thus achieved need to be sustained through strengthening health systems and microplanning by incorporating IMI sessions into routine immunizations sessions.
The key to effective implementation of targeted rapid interventions to improve the routine immunization coverage are;
- Inter-ministerial and inter-departmental coordination
- Action based review mechanism
- Intensive monitoring and accountability framework
Intensified Mission Indradhanush will primarily focus on:
- Areas with vacant sub centres-ANM not posted or absent for more than 3 months
- Unserved/low coverage pockets in sub-centre or urban areas, due to issues around vaccine hesitancy of program reach; sub centre/ANM catering to populations much higher than norms
- Villages/areas with three or more consecutive missed routine immunization sessions.
- High risk areas identified by the polio eradication program that are not having independent routine immunization sessions and clubbed with some other routine immunization sessions such as;
- Urban slums with migratory population
- Nomadic sites (brick kilns, construction sites, other migrant settlements-fisherman villages, riverine areas with shifting populations, underserved and hard-to-reach populations-forested and tribal populations, hilly areas, etc. )
- Areas with low routine immunization coverage identified through measles outbreaks, cases of diphtheria and neonatal tetanus in the last two years.
After the completion of proposed 4 rounds, the states are expected to undertake measures to sustain the gains from IMI< through activities like inclusion of IMI sessions in routine immunization plans. The sustainability of IMI will be assessed through a survey, and the decision to conduct another phase of IMI will be based on the findings of this survey.