New Delhi: Seeking to enhance immunisation mission of the government, Union Health Minister J P Nadda on Tuesday sought help of the private sector in developing cost- effective vaccines and for better management of the programme in rural areas.

“We need your support in the form of technical inputs to make immunisation cost-effective as new vaccines are required for better management of the programme," he said. The Union minister was speaking in New Delhi at a health and immunisation conference organised by business umbrella body Confederation of Indian Industries (CII).

Nadda said the government has achieved significant progress under the National Health Mission (NHM) which takes care of the overall health of children since birth to 16 years. “Through NHM, a life-cycle approach is conducted which includes institutional deliveries, timely immunisation and intervention and monitoring of under-5 (age) children by giving them folic acids," he said.

Government has also been able to bring down the infant mortality rate (IMF) and under-5 mortality rate (MR), the two health indicators of any country under the programme. “We have gone a long way in controlling IMF and under-5 MR. The under-5 MR has come down to 49 in 2013-14 from 118 in 1990. Similarly, the IMR has been reduced from 80 in 1990 to 40 in 2013-14," the minister said.

He said the government has immunised close to 15 lakh children under the first phase of ‘Indradhanush’ immunisation programme in 201 districts, where the immunisation was less than 50 per cent.

“When our government took over last year, around 17 lakh children were partially immunised and 20 lakh were totally un-immunised. Under the ‘Indradhanush’ programme, approximately 53 lakh children have been partially vaccinated and 15 lakh have been totally immunised," he said.

Stressing on the importance of cold-chain management and logistics, Nadda called for support from private companies for better management of its immunisation programmes in rural areas. “This is one area where we need your help and innovations so that the cold-chain management and logistics can be developed in far-flung rural areas," he said.