In his address to the nation today at 5 PM, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke about a host of steps taken by the government of India to control the COVID-19 pandemic. While announcing that the central government would provide vaccines to the states for free, PM Modi spoke about Mission Indradhanush, under which, India’s vaccine coverage has reached 90% overall.
Mission Indradhanush is a health mission of the government of India, launched by Union Health Minister J. P. Nadda on 25 December 2014. It aims to immunize all children under the age of 2 years, as well as all pregnant women, against seven vaccine-preventable diseases. To accelerate the process of immunization by covering 5% and more children every year, the Indradhanush mission has been adopted with an aim to achieve the target of full immunization coverage by 2020.
To strengthen and re-energize the programme and achieve full immunization coverage for all children and pregnant women at a rapid pace, the Government of India launched “Mission Indradhanush” in December 2014.
The goal of Mission Indradhanush
The ultimate goal of Mission Indradhanush is to ensure full immunization with all available vaccines for children up to two years of age and pregnant women. The Government identified 201 high focus districts across 28 states in the country that have the highest number of partially immunized and unimmunized children. The Mission Indradhanush aimed to cover all those children by 2020 who are either unvaccinated or are partially vaccinated against vaccine-preventable diseases. Prime Minister Modi said today that under Mission Indradhanush, the vaccine coverage has increased to 90%.
The strategy of Mission Indradhanush
The broad strategy, based on evidence and best practices, has included 4 basic elements:
- Meticulous planning of campaigns/sessions at all levels: Ensuring revision of micro plans in all blocks and urban areas in each district to ensure availability of sufficient vaccinators and all vaccines during routine immunization sessions. Developing special plans to reach the unreached children in more than 400,000 high-risk settlements such as urban slums, construction sites, brick kilns, nomadic sites and hard-to-reach areas.
- Effective communication and social mobilization efforts: Generating awareness and demand for immunization services through need-based communication strategies and social mobilization activities to enhance participation of the community in the routine immunization programme through mass media, mid-media, interpersonal communication (IPC), school and youth networks and corporates.
- Intensive training of the health officials and frontline workers: Building the capacity of health officials and workers in routine immunization activities for quality immunization services.
- Establish accountability framework through task forces: Enhancing involvement and accountability/ownership of the district administration and health machinery by strengthening the district task forces for immunization in all districts of India and ensuring the use of concurrent session monitoring data to plug the gaps in implementation on a real-time basis.
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare established collaboration with other Ministries, ongoing programmes and international partners to promote a coordinated and synergistic approach to improve routine immunization coverage in the country.
The Ministry is being technically supported by WHO, UNICEF, Rotary International and other donor partners. Mass media, interpersonal communication, and sturdy mechanisms of monitoring and evaluating the scheme are crucial components of Mission Indradhanush.
Diseases being targeted by Mission Indradhanush
The diseases being targeted are as follows:
- whooping cough
- Hepatitis B
In addition to these, vaccines for Japanese encephalitis and Haemophilus influenza type B are also being provided in selected states. In 2016, four new additions have been made namely Rubella, Japanese Encephalitis, Injectable Polio Vaccine Bivalent and Rotavirus. In 2017, Pneumonia was added to the Mission by incorporating the Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine under Universal Immunization Programme.
Intensified Mission Indradhanush (IMI)
According to National Health Portal, To further intensify the immunization programme, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi launched the Intensified Mission Indradhanush (IMI) on October 8, 2017. Through this programme, the Government of India aims to reach each and every child up to two years of age and all those pregnant women who have been left uncovered under the routine immunisation programme/UIP. The focus of the special drive was to improve immunisation coverage in select districts and cities to ensure full immunisation to more than 90% by December 2018.
The Government said, “Under IMI, four consecutive immunization rounds were conducted for 7 days in 173 districts (121 districts and 17 cities in 16 states and 52 districts in 8 northeastern states) every month between October 2017 and January 2018. Intensified Mission Indradhanush has covered low performing areas in the selected districts (high priority districts) and urban areas. Special attention was given to unserved/low coverage pockets in sub-centre and urban slums with migratory population. The focus was also on the urban settlements and cities identified under National Urban Health Mission (NUHM).”
Intensified Mission Indradhanush (IMI) 2.0
Consequently, the Government launched IMI 2.0 to accelerate vaccination coverage of children and pregnant women between December 2019-March 2020. IMI 2.0 focused on 272 districts in 27 states and 672 blocks in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar among tribal populations.
The salient features of IMI 2.0 are:
- Conduction of four rounds of immunization activity over 7 working days excluding the RI days, Sundays and holidays.
- Enhanced immunization session with flexible timing, mobile session and mobilization by other departments.
- Enhanced focus on left outs, dropouts, and resistant families and hard to reach areas.
- Focus on urban, underserved population and tribal areas.
- Inter-ministerial and inter-departmental coordination.
- Enhance political, administrative and financial commitment, through advocacy.
- IMI 2.0 drive is being conducted in the selected districts and urban cities between Dec 2019 – March 2020
A portal was also created specifically to manage the data relevant to IMI 2.0.