New Delhi: The government will launch a major 15-day media campaign next week to educate the masses on immunisation, ahead of implementing its ambitious health programme - 'Mission Indradhanush' in April.
To discuss how MPs will be able to contribute in this mission, Health Minister J P Nadda is also going to hold deliberations with the lawmakers of those four states which has nearly 25 per cent of the unvaccinated or partially vaccinated children in the country.
'Mission Indradhanush', depicting seven colours of the rainbow, aims to cover by 2020 all such children, who are either unvaccinated or are partially vaccinated against seven vaccine-preventable diseases including diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, polio, tuberculosis, measles and hepatitis B.
"We will launch a major media campaign on March 23 which will continue for 15 days. We have found that in 63 per cent of the cases, people do not know the benefits of immunisation. The multimedia campaign is aimed at bridging this communication gap," Rakesh Kumar, Joint secretary, Health Department told PTI.
Sources said that the Health secretary B P Sharma has also written to the I&B Ministry urging it to involve all the media units including the PIB, Doordarshan, AIR, DAVP, Song and Drama division in the campaign.
"There will be television advertisements, jingles, posters and banners and the states will do their own Information, Education and Communication (IEC) activities like workshops and dramas. It will be a multi-pronged approach for awareness generation," the source said.
Health Ministry officials said that between 2009-2013 immunisation coverage has increased from 61 per cent to 65 per cent, indicating only one per cent increase in coverage every year.
To accelerate the process of immunisation to 5 per cent and immunising more children every year, the "Mission Mode" has been adopted to achieve target of full coverage by year 2020, Kumar said.
The Ministry has identified 201 high-focus districts in the country in the first phase, which have nearly 50 per cent of all unvaccinated or partially vaccinated children.
Out of the 201 districts, 82 districts are in just four states of UP, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan and nearly 25 per cent of the unvaccinated or partially-vaccinated children of India are in these 82 districts of 4 states.
"The Health Minister has invited MPs of these four states. He will will meet and take suggestions as to how best the MPs can contribute to this mission. The meeting is aimed at taking their their opinions as well," he added.
Under 'Mission Indradhanush', four special vaccination campaigns will be conducted starting from April to July with intensive planning and will be monitored.
The learnings from the successful implementation of the polio programme will be applied in planning and implementation of the mission.
While 201 districts will be covered in the first phase, 297 will be targeted for the second phase in the year 2015. The polio vaccination programme will continue as it is, the official said.