Mission Indradhanush is full immunization drive against preventable childhood diseases. The drive has been launched by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India in December 2014 to strengthen and achieve full immunization coverage for all children. The Mission aims at ensuring that all children under the age of two years and pregnant women are fully immunized with all available vaccines.
It may be recalled here that in India `5 lakh children die due to vaccine-preventable diseases. Another 89 lakh children are always at risk due to being unimmunized or partially immunized against vaccine-preventable diseases. It is an undeniable fact that partially immunized and unimmunized children are more vulnerable to the risk of childhood diseases and remain at a much higher risk of dying earlier than fully immunized children. The ultimate objective behind launching Mission Indradhanush is to ensure full immunization with all available vaccines for children up to two years and pregnant women.
The Mission if implemented with full success will not only cover high quality routine immunization of the children but also reinvigorate health systems in the country. The problem with India’s full immunization coverage is that it is increasing only by 1% per year. So accelerating the process of immunization and achieving full immunization coverage in mission mode for all children in the country by 5% and more children every year is the top priority. The Mission aims to attain the full coverage by 2020.
Under the Mission high priority is being given to 201 high focus districts across 28 states in the country because it is these districts where the highest number of partially immunized and unimmunized children have been identified. Mission Indradhanush will target these districts through intensive efforts and special immunization drives to improve the routine immunization coverage in the country. The Mission Indradhanush, representing seven colours of the rainbow, aims to cover by the year 2020 seven vaccine preventable diseases which include—
- whooping cough
In May 2016 ‘Mission Indradhanush’ to include four new vaccines for rotavirus, measles rubella, inactivated polio vaccine biavalent and Japanese Encephalitis for adults.
Mission Indradhanush Phase I started as a weeklong special intensified immunization drive from 7th April, 2015 in 201 high focus districts for four consecutive months. During this phase, more than 75 lakh children were vaccinated of which 20 lakh children were fully vaccinated and more than 20 lakh pregnant women received tetanus toxoid vaccine. Enthused by the success of Phase – 1 the government launched Phase II of Mission Indradhanush which started from October 2015 in 352 districts in the country of which 279 were medium focus districts and remaining 73 were high focus districts of Phase-I. During Phase II four special drives of weeklong duration were conducted.
The third phase of Mission Indradhanush (MI) started from 7 April, 2016. As per official announcement by the Mission Director of the National Health Mission (NHM), 387 lakh children out of the estimated 70 lakh children under 2 years of age, who were either partially or completely unvaccinated under the Universal Immunization Programme (UIP) were fully immunized under phases 1 and 2.
Phase 3 is focusing on immunizing children in 216 districts based on the reports collected from the previous two phases and filling in the gaps left. The third phase added 41 new districts, and remove 26 districts from the drive as they do not deserve further attention in this phase for the immunization programme. But in third phase, besides covering standard of children under 2, focus was also be put on 5-year-old children. Increasing DPT booster coverage, and giving tetanus toxoid injections to pregnant women is another added feature of the Indradhanush Mission under phase -3.