The Government will soon achieve its goal of Universal Immunization of children, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Tuesday as he noted that at present, up to 90 per cent ofchildren in India are being given free immunization. India's Universal Immunization Programme (UIP) is the largest in the world.
The Minister was briefing the media here in the run-up to the Government's celebration of the Pulse Polio Immunization Programme's Silver Jubilee, which will be held on the 31st of this month.
The Minister said that, in the early 90s, India saw over two lakh cases of polio annually, but, after the polio eradication programme was launched in 1994, India attained polio-free status over the course of the next two decade due to concentrated efforts and collaboration of the Government, international partners, civil society, health workers and millions of volunteers. The Minister further added that the best practices and the systems established by the Pulse Polio programme have benefitted other health programs, viz. the community mobilization, logistics management, reaching the last mile or setting up a surveillance system.
The learnings from Pulse Polio programme have helped implementation of other immunization programme i.e. the Mission Indradhanush (MI) and the Intensified Mission Indradhanush (IMI).
The Universal Immunization (UIP) basket of vaccines has expanded to cover 12 Vaccine Preventable Diseases (VPDs) from the earlier 7. Since 2014, five new vaccines have been introduced in UIP, which includes Rotavirus vaccine, Japanese encephalitis vaccine for adults, Inactivated Poliovirus Vaccine (IPV); Measles Rubella vaccine (MR) and, Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV) in a phased manner.
As of today, “Mission Indradhanush and related drives have successfully reached out to and vaccinated 3.39 crore children and 87.2 Lakh pregnant women in India.”
The Minister said that the 16 districts who achieved 90% full immunization coverage during IMI in 2017-18 will also be rewarded at the event.