New Delh: The government today launched 'Mission Indradhanush', which aims to cover by 2020 children who are either unvaccinated or partially vaccinated against seven vaccine-preventable diseases.
The diseases are diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, polio, tuberculosis, measles and hepatitis B, an official statement here said.
Union Health Minister J P Nadda launched the mission on 'Good Governance Day' to mark the birth anniversary of Madan Mohan Malaviya and birthday of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Under the programme, four special vaccination campaigns will be conducted between January and June 2015 with intensive planning and monitoring of these campaigns. The learnings from the successful implementation of the polio programme will be applied in planning and implementation of the mission, he said.
While 201 districts will be covered in the first phase, 297 will be targeted for the second phase.
Nadda said, "We have 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. These districts will be targeted by intensive efforts to improve the routine immunization coverage."
Of the 201 districts, 82 districts are in four states of UP, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan and nearly 25 per cent of the unvaccinated or partially vaccinated children are in these 82 districts, he said.
To accelerate the process of immunization by covering 5 per cent and more children every year, a mission mode has been adopted to achieve target of full coverage by 2020, Nadda said, noting that between 2009-2013, immunisation coverage has increased from 61 per cent to 65 per cent, indicating only 1 per cent increase in coverage every year.
He said that the focussed and systematic immunisation drive will be through a "catch-up" campaign mode, under which the aim is to cover all the children who have been left out or missed out for immunisation.
The Ministry will be technically supported by WHO, UNICEF, Rotary International and other donor partners.