Full immunization against preventable childhood diseases is the right of every child. With a view to providing this right to every child, in 1985 the Government of India had launched the Universal Immunization Programme, one of the largest health programs of its kind in the world.
Despite being operational for over 30 years, UIP has been able to fully immunize only 65 percent children in the first year of their life and the increase in coverage has stagnated in the past four to five years to an average 1 percent every year.
To strengthen and invigorate the program and achieve full immunization coverage for all children at a rapid pace, the Government of India has launched Mission Indradhanush in December 2014.
Mission Indradhanush will target all children under the age of two years and pregnant women with all available vaccines. The Mission is a strategic intervention that will ensure full immunization coverage in the country and strengthen the health system.
Every year 5 lakh children die in India due to vaccine preventable diseases and 89 lakh children remain at risk because they are not fully immunized against vaccine preventable diseases.
Unimmunized and partially immunized children are most susceptible to childhood diseases and are at a much higher risk of dying as compared to fully immunized children.
If that were not reason enough, immunizing children can go well beyond saving individual lives. It can help in preventing large-scale outbreaks of diseases as well as 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.
Goals and Rationale
The ultimate goal of Mission Indradhanush is to ensure full immunization with all available vaccines for children up to two years and pregnant women.
The Government has identified 201 high focus districts across 28 states in the country that have the highest number of partially vaccinated and unvaccinated children.
Mission Indradhanush will target these districts through intensive efforts and special catch-up drives to improve the routine immunization coverage in the country. To know more, click here.