Small innovations have propped up the special immunisation drive of the Madhya Pradesh health department under Mission Indradhanush with almost 97,000 children below the age of two years getting fully immunised in 15 districts within a short period of 24 days.
Innovations, including simple incentives like distribution of balls, balloons and chocolates, cash rewards for fully immunised children selected through lottery, personalised invitation cards and use of battery-operated mega-mikes by Asha health workers to create awareness, are working well to pull in children for the special drive, health department officials have said.
“In MP, we have our unique challenges, especially because of huge tribal population, remote and inaccessible areas. Also, level of awareness is low in districts with poor literacy. So we decided on innovative steps to reach out to these people,” Dr Santosh Shukla, state immunisation officer (SIO) told HT.
The SIO said the main focus of the special drive was to reach out to those children, who normally remain unreached -- like those of migratory families, families working at construction sites, brick kilns, stone crushers and other such shifting site jobs.
Overall, during the three special rounds, over 2.97 lakh children and 91,000 odd pregnant women were vaccinated, he said.
The first phase of the Mission Indradhanush was launched in April by the ministry of health and family welfare of government of India to fully immunise all children in 201 high focus districts. These districts account for almost 50% of all unvaccinated or partially vaccinated children.
Immunised against deadly seven
Fully-immunised children are those who are vaccinated against seven preventable diseases namely diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, polio, tuberculosis, measles and hepatitis B.
In MP, 2.65 lakh children in 15 districts are being targeted for full immunisation in the first phase (2015-16), using four rounds of special immunisation drive in addition to yearlong routine drive.
The districts are Vidisha, Raisen, Alirajpur, Jhabua, Mandla, Sagar, Panna, Chhatarpur, Tikamgarh, Damoh, Rewa, Satna, Anuppur, Umaria and Shahdol. Three rounds, of eight days each, have been completed in April, May and June and already 96,880 children have been fully immunised, Dr Shukla said.
The fourth round would be held in July (7-14) and the target is to take the total figure of fully immunised children to 1.5 lakh, the officer said. The other one lakh children would be immunised through the routine drive, held twice a week.