Launched in December 2014, Mission Indradhanush has pulled up India’s immunisation coverage significantly to 87 per cent, Joint Secretary (Health) Vandana Gurnani said Tuesday.
“The immunisation coverage right now, as reported in the HMIS (self-reporting by states) is 87 per cent. A survey is on,” Gurnani said in reply to a question.
Officials said the data is not verified at any level, which is why a larger survey has been commissioned. For now, the nearest thing to a survey data – though not statistically significant – is the concurrent monitoring data, which stands at 85 per cent.
Concurrent monitoring is a combination of provider reporting and supervisor surveys done within the system to estimate how a programme is working. The concurrent data for 2014 had showed a full immunisation coverage of 67 per cent, when Mission Indradhanush was launched.
Official data on India’s immunisation coverage is still 62 per cent, given as the National Family Health Survey-4 (2015-16). The Pulse Polio campaign was integral to the eventual declaration of India as polio-free in 2014 after three years without a single wild polio case.
Lessons from that were incorporated in Mission Indradhanush programme.
Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan, meanwhile, outlined his ministry’s plan to observe 25 years of the Pulse Polio campaign.
Mission Indradhanush is a booster vaccination programme that started in 201 districts with low immunisation coverage. It represents the seven vaccines that were then included in the Universal Immunisation Programme against seven diseases: tuberculosis, poliomyelitis, hepatitis B, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus and measles. The number has since risen to 12 with the inclusion of vaccines against measles rubella, rotavirus, Haemophilus influenza type-B and polio.
In a select few states and districts, vaccines are also provided against Japanese Encephalitis and pneumococcus.
In an article in BMJ journal last year, Gurnani wrote: “Owing to low childhood vaccination coverage, India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare launched Mission Indradhanush in 2014 to target underserved, vulnerable, resistant, and inaccessible populations. The programme ran between April 2015 and July 2017, vaccinating around 25.5 million children and 6.9 million pregnant women. This contributed to an increase of 6.7% in full immunisation coverage… In October 2017, the Prime Minister of India launched Intensified Mission Indradhanush — an ambitious plan to accelerate progress. It aimed to reach 90% full immunisation…”
Meanwhile, the ministry has planned a celebration of the silver jubilee of the Pulse Polio Programme on October 31 at Dr Ambedkar International Centre in Delhi. Harsh Vardhan said India being declared polio-free in 2014 was a long and momentous journey.