India’s Universal Immunisation Programme (U.I.P.) is one of the largest in the world in terms of quantities of vaccine used, the number of beneficiaries, the number of immunization session organised, the geographical spread and diversity of areas covered.
Immunisation is one of the most cost effective interventions for disease prevention. Traditionally the major thrust of Immunisation services has been the reduction of infant and child mortality. However, newer vaccines like the Hepatitis B vaccine which is administered in infancy, gives life long protection against cancer liver and other complications of Hepatitis B infection in adults. Immunisaton is an important vehicle for health promotion and therefore is a true national investment.
The national policy of immunization of all children during the first year of life with DPT, OPV, BCG to complete the series of primary vaccination before reaching the age of one year was adopted in 1978 with the lunching of EPI to increase the immunization coverage in infancy to 80%. Universal immunization programme UIP was lunched in 1985 in a phased manner. The measles vaccine was added in 1985 and in 1990 Vit A supplementation was added to the program.
As per NFHS-3 data full immunization coverage in Orissa was 52% and no immunization is 9%. Evaluated coverage by UNICEF in last 3 years indicates that there is decline in coverage of all antigens. Proportion of districts achieving 80% DPT3 coverage has also decreased. However high stable BCG coverage indicates that things can improve. There is a wide gap between reported and evaluated coverage (2001-BCG reported coverage 112% and evaluated coverage is 84%). In reported coverage there is confusion in denominators and in it also non immunized children are left unaccounted. As per NHFS-3, full immunization has increased to 51.8% children 12 to 23 months and sustained efforts can increase it further.
Measles still accounts for large number of deaths in children. There is fear of resurgence of VPD cases. Considering these and the short falls of activities in RCH-I, many new intervention have been introduced to achieve 100% full immunisation status by 2010 and to maintain it.