New Delhi: The government has identified 254 districts spread across 28 states to enhance its immunization coverage under the Mission Indradhanush programme during the ongoing World Immunisation Week.
As a part of the initiative, which is being termed as the phase-IV of the programme, the government aims to vaccinate those children who were missed out during the routine vaccination or in the earlier phases, Pradeep Haldar, Deputy Commissioner (Immunisation) said.
"Children who have not been vaccinated will be identified by the ASHAs and frontline workers. They will go to each and every household in these 254 districts so that the missed out children can be vaccinated," Haldar said.
World Immunization Week is observed in the last week of April to promote vaccination to protect people of all ages against diseases.
Mission Indradhanush aims to cover all those children by 2020 who are either unvaccinated, or are partially vaccinated against eleven vaccine preventable diseases which include diphtheria, tuberculosis, tetanus, polio, measles and hepatitis B.
Mission Indradhanush was launched by the Union Health Ministry on December 25, 2014 and during the first three phases, 28.7 lakh immunisation sessions were held in which more than 2.1 crore children were reached out and 55 lakh of them were fully immunized.
In addition, 55.9 lakh pregnant women were also vaccinated with tetanus toxoid.
Despite several interventions to strengthen routine immunisation since 1978, estimates showed that in 2014, only 65 per cent of the children received all vaccines, which were available free of cost under the universal immunisation programme, during their first years of life.
It was then when the Mission Indradhanush was launched to ensure full immunisation of all children in the country, Haldar said.
"The Government of India has demonstrated strong and effective leadership in mobilizing partners for collectively addressing maternal and child health.
"UNICEF is committed to working together with the Government of India and other development partners, to ensure that we close the immunity gaps in every state, in every district and in every community, so that all boys and girls are protected from vaccine preventable diseases," said Louis- Georges Arsenault, UNICEF India Representative.