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The latest survey (July’17 - June’18) by the National Statistical Office finds that well over 90% of children in India are born in an “institution (a government or private facility). The proportion of children up to five years who have been fully immunized stagnates below 60%.

Backgrounds:

  • The National Family Health Survey (NFHS) done in 2015-16 showed a similar level of immunization coverage (62%)

Key Findings:

  • The proportion of fully immunized children was just 58.4% in rural India and 61.7% in urban areas.
  • In states like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, which accounts for the highest number of children being born, the coverage is just 48% and 55%, respectively. 
  • The percentage of children who received any vaccination was over 97% -  The BCG and one OPV dose are given at birth. 

The Mission Indradhanush and The Intensified Mission Indradhanush- 

  • They were launched on December 25, 2014 (The Mission Indradhanush) and October 8, 2017 (The Intensified Mission Indradhanush).
  • It is a special drive to reach those not covered by the routine immunization program.
  • It focused on select districts and cities to achieve over 90% full immunization coverage by December 2018. 
  • Earlier, the target of the mission was to achieve this by 2020.
  • While the increase in full immunization coverage was 1% per year earlier, this had shot up to 6.7% per year through the first two phases of Mission Indradhanush
  • Children were also given meningitis and Hepatitis B vaccines
  • In selected states, children were also given vaccines for Japanese encephalitis and haemophilus influenzae type B
  • In 2016, the health ministry added more vaccines against rubella, rotavirus and an injectable polio vaccine (IPB)
  • In 2017, the mission added pneumococcal conjugate vaccine meant to prevent pneumonia to the universal immunization programme. 

Issues:

  • A lack of progress in immunization coverage in the two intervening years(2016-2018). The coverage has been stagnant.
  • It highlights the health system’s failure to track children born in hospitals to ensure their full immunization.
  • The data on coverage does not match with the higher coverage(83%) data released earlier by the MoH&FW.  

Working of vaccination:

  • The human immune system is composed of various types of cells. 
  • These cells defend them against invaders. They remove harmful pathogens. 
  • Our immune system needs to recognise that an invader is dangerous.
  • Vaccination let our immune system know how to recognize new diseases
  • It stimulates human bodies to make antibodies against antigens of pathogens
  • It also teaches the immune system to remember the antigens that cause infection. 
  • This further leads to a faster response to the same disease in the future.

Also readWorld Health Organization (WHO) Award For Rajasthan Health Dept.

Tamil Nadu Health System Reform Program

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