Govt to launch vaccine vans

1st phase to cover 50 districts; will also collect immunisation data

Written by Abantika Ghosh | New Delhi | Published: February 27, 2012 3:04 am

Buoyed by the success of door-to-door polio vaccination drive,the Union Health Ministry plans to soon start an ambitious Teeka Express,a mobile vaccine van,which will cover 50 districts in the first phase.

The Teeka Express will deliver all vaccines that are part of the national immunisation programme and will not only be a logistical aid but also the logo and overall look of the van designed by the UNICEF,the ministry hopes,will give the much needed brand value to the drive. It will also collect immunisation data — the first step in generating real time data that the PM has termed as a limitation in health planning.

Economist Jeffrey Sachs,who heads the International Advisory Panel of the NRHM,had in a meeting this month stressed that without real time data,India’s health plans could not generate the desired impact. Dr S K Gupta,health specialist (immunisation),UN Children’s Fund,said: “The 50 districts will be chosen from among the 200 worst ones where intensification of immunisation has been planned. States have been asked to come up with suggestions based on availability of roads and Maoist problem.”

The ministry plans to observe 2012 as the year of intensification of immunisation. The idea is believed to have stemmed from the realisation that for the special drive ANMs,travelling by public transport to collect vaccines from primary health centres and then to target villages,had only three-four hours for actual administration of vaccines. Teeka Express will solve this issue. Moreover,a dedicated service like an ambulance will ensure recall value. “People would see Teeka Express and it would be an instant reminder that it is vaccination day,” said an official.

The plan is to procure 1,800 specialised vehicles in the first phase. The vehicles will be equipped with refrigeration units. The exterior will have immunisation messages. The logo will show a child hugging an outsized syringe. The ministry is in talks with KFW,a German funding body,to finance the plan. The KFW had earlier given $340 million (around Rs 1,700 crore) for the polio programme for commissioning of mobile refrigeration units.

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