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March 20, 2019
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Operation Indradhanush: India Betting On Its Future, Its Children

This is perhaps the only vaccination drive that school kids get back home and talk about with their parents. The larger chunk of school going kids now know it is the MR vaccination day. A few can also tell you what MR stand for. Almost every school across India made arrangement for it and set aside a day for this purpose. Well, I am talking about Mission Indradhanush launched by the Indian Government.

A one of its kind both is size and ambition, India’s Mission Indradhanush has been selected amongst the top 12 best practices the world over. This massive immunization drive across the length and breadth of the country is known for the speed and scale of execution. You can only gauge its impact by the sheer fact that this has also earned praise in the John Hopkins report on global diarrhoea and pneumonia.

One of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first key projects, the Mission, that is on its fourth year now was spearheaded by former health secretary CK Mishra and launched in 2017. It seeks to offer protection to children against 8 major diseases.

  • Diphtheria
  • Whooping cough
  • Haemophilus Influenza Type B (Hib)
  • Tetanus
  • Polio
  • Tuberculosis
  • Measles
  • Hepatitis B

Additionally, this vaccination also covers Japanese Encephalitis (JE) in select districts where it has taken endemic proportion.

This immunization drive has so far covered 2.55 crore children and nearly 69 lakh pregnant women. The routine immunization drive in comparison covers only a paltry 2 crore a year. Spread over four phases, this project was launched with the aim to plug the huge gap in the immunization of children. The drive has already achieved the 90% immunization target that was set up initially.

In fact, according to the John Hopkins Bloomberg School Of Public Health, this mission has been successful in immunizing close to 25 million children across 500 districts and played a crucial role in limiting the damage inflicted by massive killers like pneumonia and diarrhoea internationally. Special strategies were undertaken for closely monitoring the progress and help catch-up wherever there was a lag.

The project was launched with the aim that every child should be protected against diseases that can be prevented by vaccination. This is true sense is one of the foundations of nation-building. As a developing economy, India is heavily invested in the future. Every step today is aimed at bettering the narrative tomorrow. The idea is to lay the foundation for a strong tomorrow. In this context, there is no better way to achieve it than investing in the health of the children consistently. In this context this project over the past 4 years needs mention both for the vision it embodies as well as the smooth execution. The interesting fact is this intensified mission has been successful in covering both rural and urban India in a unified spirit.

Needless to mention, that this mission has been instrumental in putting India on the map of global health missions. It seeks to envisage a sustainable growth that banks on health and wellness.