An intensified version of Mission Indradhanush, a central government initiative to achieve full immunisation, will be launched across 192 villages in 23 districts of Maharashtra from April 23. To step up efforts to achieve complete immunisation coverage, health officials will reach out to remote villages in districts across Marathwada and Vidarbha regions.
Mission Indradhanush aims to immunise pregnant women as well as all children under the age of two years against vaccine preventable diseases. The mission, launched in 2014, is aimed at covering all children who need medical attention by 2020 across the country, who are either unvaccinated or partially vaccinated against preventable diseases.
In Maharashtra, 2.9 lakh children were covered by the programme during an intensified round between October 2017 and January 2018. The state currently has an immunisation coverage of 83 per cent.
Now, as part of another special intensified round of Mission Indradhanush, to be held between April 23 and 27, the state government is targetting 192 remote villages.
As part of the programme, district-level health officers, auxillary nursing midwives and workers will be trained, while a house-to-house survey will start from April 16 to identify children who need to be vaccinated in these areas, D N Patil, assistant director, immunisation, Maharashtra, told The Indian Express.
“…Villages in Nandurbar, Gadchiroli, Nanded, Yavatmal, Beed, Osmanabad and Akola have been identified as low-performing ones in terms of the vaccination coverage there… this special intensified round will help us expand our coverage to interior areas,” he added.
In the last intensified round of Mission Indradhanush, 10 districts and 13 corporations were covered, and the drives were held for seven days each month. These intensified rounds help reach out to families of migrant workers, slum dwellers and others, said Patil.
India’s universal immunisation programme provides free vaccines against 11 life threatening diseases — tuberculosis, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, polio, hepatitis B, pneumonia, measles, rubella and others — to 26 million (2.6 crore) children every year. The programme includes special immunisation drives and routine vaccination coverage, said Patil.
Health officials said a vital feature of Mission Indradhanush was how it spanned across various departments — such as women and child development, panchayati raj, youth affairs — and several workers of these departments had joined hands to implement the programme at the ground level.