(Photo: Bloomberg)
(Photo: Bloomberg)

Mission Indradhanush to follow pulse polio programme strategy

  • Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said celebration of the silver jubilee of the Pulse Polio programme will happen on 31 October
  • Since the Modi govt took charge in 2014, the universal immunisation basket of vaccines has been expanded as we provide vaccines for 12 diseases, said Harsh Vardhan

New Delhi: Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Tuesday said that the government is working towards ensuring 100% coverage with all lifesaving and absolutely free of cost vaccines available under Universal Immunization Programme (UIP). The program will be implemented on the lines of pulse polio programme. Since 2014, from the inception of Narendra Modi government"s programme Mission Indradhanush — the Universal Immunization (UIP) — the basket of vaccines has expanded to cover 12 Vaccine Preventable Diseases (VPDs) from the earlier seven.

As of today, Mission Indradhanush and related programmes have successfully reached out to and vaccinated 3.39 crore children and 87.2 Lakh pregnant women in India. “The best practices and the systems established by the Pulse Polio programme have benefitted other health programs, viz. the community mobilization, logistics management, reaching the last mile or setting up a surveillance system," said Harsh Vardhan.

“The learnings from Pulse Polio Programme have helped implementation of other immunization programme i.e. the Mission Indradhanush (MI) and the Intensified Mission Indradhanush (IMI)," he said. The government will celebrate the Silver Jubilee of the Pulse Polio Programme, in an event scheduled to be held on 31 October, 2019.

During the event, 16 districts who achieved 90% full immunization coverage during IMI in 2017-18 will also be rewarded. “We are trying to simulate the Polio progamme ideas for the Routine Immunization (RI) Programme also. Convergent action is our main strategy with emphasis on involving the parent and families of children, to ensure that no child gets affected by VPDs," said Preeti Sudan, Secretary, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.

Health Minster further informed that the programme on 31 October, 2019 will last for three hours and will have a film on journey of pulse polio. It will also have a panel discussion featuring the prominent personnel of that era. During the event, 16 districts who achieved 90% full immunization coverage during IMI in 2017-18 will also be rewarded.In 1988, the World Health Assembly (WHA) passed a resolution to launch the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI).

The Delhi government, with Harsh Vardhan as the then health minister, piloted the first ever large scale supplementary immunization campaign with oral polio vaccine (OPV) in 1994 by starting the “Pulse Polio" immunization campaign with the ‘Do Boond Zindagi Ki’ tagline, on 2 October, 1994. The campaign in Delhi reached nearly one million children up to the age of three years with two doses of OPV being administered on 2 October and 4 December through exclusive booth-based strategy.

This strategy was later adopted and implemented by Government of India as Pulse Polio Campaigns. The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared India polio free in 2014. India’s attainment of polio-free status in 2014 was coined by the WHO as “one of the most significant achievements in public health," and marked not just India but the entire South East Asia Region being declared polio-free.

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