Every year in India, 5 lakh children die due to vaccine-preventable diseases and another 89 lakh children remain at risk, because they are either unimmunized or partially immunized against vaccine-preventable diseases. Partially immunized and unimmunized children are most susceptible to childhood diseases and are at a much higher risk of dying as compared to fully immunized children. Immunizing children can also help in preventing large-scale outbreaks of diseases and keeping the disease under control in an area, thus reducing the stress on an already burdened health system. Thus, full immunization is critical if we want to reduce child mortality and progress on socio-economic indicators.
Mission Indradhanush (MI), a flagship program of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), Government of India was launched in December 2014 with the aim to reduce child mortality and accelerate the process of full immunization coverage for children at a rapid pace, ensuring that all children under the age of 2 years and pregnant women are fully immunized with all available vaccines. However, vaccination on demand to children up to 5 years of age will be provided during drives.
The Mission is strategically designed to achieving high quality routine immunization coverage while contributing to strengthening health systems that can be sustained over years to come. The Government has identified 201 high focus districts across 28 states in the country that have the highest number of partially immunized and unimmunized children. MI will target these districts through intensive efforts and special immunization drives.
While acknowledging the impact of Mission Indradhanush in improving immunization coverage, Hon’ble Prime Minister through PRAGATI platform, emphasized the need of a supplemental aggressive action plan to cover all left outs and drop outs as well as High risk areas in select districts and urban areas with low routine immunization coverage in a specific time-frame (December 2018). In the light of the above, Govt. of India is introducing ‘Intensified Mission Indradhanush (IMI)’ in select districts and urban areas of the country to achieve the target of more than 90% coverage. In these districts, focus would be on improving immunization coverage through need based interventions in IMI drives, based on a comprehensive gap analysis, with strengthened involvement of relevant non-health departments and enhanced monitoring and accountability frameworks. The gains thus achieved need to be sustained through strengthening health systems and microplanning by incorporating IMI sessions into routine immunizations sessions. IMI Immunization drive will be spread over 7 continuous working days starting from 7th of every month.