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India aims to immunise all children by 2020

vacine indiaNEW DELHI: With an aim to vaccinate all partially-vaccinated and unimmunised children by 2020, the government on Monday launched a 15-day media campaign to educate the masses on immunisation, ahead of implementing its ambitious health programme “Mission Indradhanush” in April.

Depicting seven colours of the rainbow, the new mission aims to vaccinate children against seven vaccine-preventable diseases — diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, polio, tuberculosis, measles and hepatitis B.

On the occasion, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also sent his message, congratulating the health ministry for undertaking the initiative. He also appealed to the parents and guardians of all children to ensure that their children are fully vaccinated.

Emphasising that the country can only be “Swasthya and Swachch” if its children are “healthy,” Union health minister J.P. Nadda said, “To plug the gaps we have to work on micro-level details. The intention is clear that we have to reach out to every child”. To achieve his target, the minister called for co-operation from all sections.

“Not only the MPs but also MLAs should be roped into the programme to ensure that not a single child in India is left out of the immunisation programme,” he added further.

According to the health ministry only 65 per cent children in India receive all vaccines during their first years of life. While, the coverage has increased by only 4 per cent in the last 4 years at the rate of 1 per cent per year, the target is to increase it to to 90 per cent by 2020. The minister cited lack of awareness as one of the key reasons for partial immunisation and no immunisation.”40 per cent of children who are unimmunised are those whose mothers are unaware and 32 per cent mothers don’t get their children vaccinated out of fear,” he said.

CK Mishra, Additional secretary in the health ministry said that, while the focus will be on 201 high-priority districts with largest number of partially-vaccinated and unvaccinated children during the first phase the mission in addition, will also provide vaccination against Japanese Encephalitis and Haemophilus influenza Type B will be provided in selected districts.

Under the second phase, 297 more districts will be covered as part of the programme. The campaign, involves advertisements, jingles, workshops and a host of other activities to sensitise the masses about the benefits of immunisation. – From the Asian Age

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