Immunization Programme in India was introduced in 1978 as ‘Expanded Programme of Immunization’ (EPI) by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India. In 1985, the programme was modified as ‘Universal Immunization Programme’ (UIP) to be implemented in phased manner to cover all districts in the country by 1989-90 with the one of largest health programme in the world. Despite being operational for many years, UIP has been able to fully immunize only 65% children in the first year of their life.
Through UIP, Government of India is providing vaccination free of cost against vaccine preventable diseases include diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, polio, measles, severe form of childhood tuberculosis, hepatitis B, meningitis and pneumonia (Hemophilus influenza type B infections), Japanese encephalitis (JE) in JE endemic districts with introduction of newer vaccines such as rotavirus vaccine, IPV, adult JE vaccine, pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) and measles-rubella (MR) vaccine in UIP/national immunization programme.
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.
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 has identified 201 high focus districts across 28 states in the country that have the highest number of partially immunized and unimmunized children.
Earlier the increase in full immunization coverage was 1% per year which has increased to 6.7% per year through the first two phases of Mission Indradhanush. Four phases of Mission Indradhanush have been conducted till August 2017 and more than 2.53 crore children and 68 lakh pregnant women have been vaccinated.
Intensified Mission Indradhanush (IMI):
It was launched in 2017.
Through this programme, 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 special drive was to improve immunisation coverage in select districts and cities to ensure full immunisation to more than 90% by December 2018.
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:
To boost the routine immunization coverage in the country, Government of India has introduced Intensified Mission Indradhanush 2.0 to ensure reaching the unreached with all available vaccines and accelerate the coverage of children and pregnant women in the identified districts and blocks from December 2019-March 2020.
The IMI 2.0 aims to achieve targets of full immunization coverage in 272 districts in 27 States and at block level (652 blocks) in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar among hard-to-reach and tribal populations.
With the launch of Intensified Mission Indradhanush 2.0, India has the opportunity to achieve further reductions in deaths among children under five years of age, and achieve the Sustainable Development Goal of ending preventable child deaths by 2030.
Several ministries, including the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Panchayati Raj, Ministry of Urban Development, Ministry of Youth Affairs and others have come together to make the mission a resounding success and support the central government in ensuring the benefits of vaccines reach the last mile.
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