Mission Indradhanush was introduced by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India on December 25, 2014. Between 2009-2013 immunization coverage has gone from 61% to 65%, indicating only a 1% increase in coverage every year. To speed up the process of immunization by covering 5% and more children every year, Indradhanush mission has been adopted to gain target of full coverage by 2020.
The Mission Indradhanush aims to include all those children by 2020 who are either unvaccinated or are partially vaccinated against vaccine-preventable diseases. India’s Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP) give free vaccines against 12 life-threatening diseases, to 26 million children annually. The Universal Immunization Programme grants life-saving vaccines to all children across the country free of cost to protect them against Tuberculosis, Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus, Polio, Hepatitis B, Pneumonia and Meningitis due to Haemophilus Influenzae type b (Hib), Measles, Rubella, Japanese Encephalitis (JE) and Rotavirus diarrhoea. (Rubella, JE and Rotavirus vaccine in select states and districts).
Focused and systematic immunization drive will be a “catch-up” campaign mode where the aim is to cover all the children who have been left out or missed out for immunization. Also, the pregnant women are administered the tetanus vaccine, ORS packets and zinc tablets are distributed for use in the event of high diarrhoea or dehydration and vitamin A doses are administered to boost child immunity.
Mission Indradhanush Phase I was commenced as a weeklong special intensified immunization drive from 7th April 2015 in 201 high focus districts for four consecutive months. In 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.
The Phase II of Mission Indradhanushincludes 352 districts in the country of which 279 are medium focus districts and remaining 73 are high focus districts of Phase-I. In Phase II of Mission Indradhanush, four special drives of weeklong duration were conducted starting from October 2015.
Phases I and II of the special drive had 1.48 crore children and 38 lakh pregnant women additionally immunized. Of these around 39 lakh children and more than 20 lakh pregnant women have been additionally fully immunized. Across 21.3 lakh sessions held by the country in high and mid-priority districts, more than 3.66 crore antigens have been administered.
Phase III of Mission Indradhanush was set up from 7 April 2016 covering 216 districts. Four intensified immunization rounds were organized for seven days in each between April and July 2016, in these districts. These 216 districts have been identified on the basis of calculations where full immunization coverage is less than 60 per cent and have high dropout rates. Apart from the standard of children under 2, it also focussed on 5-year-olds and on increasing DPT booster coverage and giving tetanus toxoid injections to pregnant women.
Overall, in the first three phases, 28.7 lakh immunization sessions were organized, covering 2.1 crore children, of which 55 lakh were fully immunized. Also, 55.9 lakh pregnant women were given the tetanus toxoid vaccine across 497 high-focus districts. Since the introduction of Mission Indhradhanush, full immunization coverage has increased by 5 per cent to 7 per cent. Mission Indradhanush has resulted in a 6.7 % annual expansion in the immunization cover.
Phase IV of Mission Indradhanush was set up from 7 February 2017 covering the North-eastern states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, and Tripura. It has been rolled out in the whole of the country during April 2017.
The four phases of Mission Indradhanush have given to more than 2.53 crore children and 68 lakh pregnant women with life-saving vaccines.
The Ministry is being technically helped 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.
Areas Under Focus
Mission Indradhanush targets 201 high priority districts in the first phase, 297 districts for the second phase in the year 2015 and 216 districts in the third Phase during 2016.
Within the districts, the Mission focusses on high-risk settlements identified by the polio eradication programme. These are the pockets with less coverage due to geographic, demographic, ethnic and other operational challenges. Evidence has shown that most of the unvaccinated and partially vaccinated children are concentrated in these areas.