In its first round held from April 7 to 13, Mission Indradhanush, the Central government’s programme to improve immunisation of children, reached out to 868 children aged 0 to two years and 240 ante natal women in Vellore Health Unit Division (HUD). The second round is all set to commence on May 7.
Launched with an aim to cover all children, who had missed vaccination or are partially vaccinated by 2020, as per the national immunisation schedule, the mission is being carried out in seven districts in Tamil Nadu, apart from Vellore. The other districts are Coimbatore, Tiruchy, Kancheepuram, Tirunelveli, Madurai, Tiruvallur and Virudhunagar.
Under the mission, four rounds of immunisation camps would be held every year. Each round will last for a week, officials said.
During the first round, the camps were held across 343 places in Vellore HUD, including at health sub-centres, anganwadi centres and schools, according to officials.
The aim of the mission was to vaccinate children against seven vaccine preventable diseases. But this seven was only an average as it was eight in some districts and nine in Japanese Encephalitis endemic districts.
Against 8 diseases
“In Vellore, children are vaccinated against eight diseases – tuberculosis, polio, hepatitis, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, influenza and measles. To prevent neonatal tetanus, ante natal mothers are vaccinated against tetanus in these camps,” K. Poonkodi, deputy director of health services, Vellore HUD said.
She said 99 per cent children were covered under the routine immunisation in Vellore.
“We are identifying and covering the remaining one per cent children. Through this mission, we are intensifying our efforts and ensuring that not a single child is dropped,” she added.
Often, children miss out on vaccinations due to certain reasons such as travelling outside the home town during a scheduled vaccination period or illness.
“Mostly, Wednesdays are vaccination days in the government sector. Often, parents wait for a month for the next vaccination day, and hence there is delay in administering the vaccination. We want to avoid such delays by organizing these camps,” she said.
In addition, Mission Indradhanush has helped officials to increase focus on small villages, hard to reach areas, settlements, nomads and migrant population.
“If we organise a camp near a particular health sub-centre, the four main villages in the vicinity are covered. Now, we are concentrating on small villages in the surrounding and people living in hard to reach areas, settlements, nomads and migrants,” she added.
Camps under the Mission Indradhanush are similar to the special campaigns organised for pulse polio immunisation. The department chalks out block-wise plans for the week-long camps and village health nurses are roped in to reach out to the children.