Universal Immunization Programme:
The Universal Immunization Programme (UIP) was taken up in the year l985-86 and was given a status of National Technology Mission in 1986. The programme became operational in all the districts, of the country by the year 1989-90 and became part of CSSM programme in 1992 and RCH programme in 1997.
Under the immunization programme, vaccination to infants are given for control of vaccine preventable diseases namely diphtheria, pertussis, childhood tuberculosis, poliomyelitis, measles and neonatal tetanus and to pregnant women against tetanus. Except for the polio vaccine, which is administered orally, all other vaccines are injectable.
The country is self sufficient in all vaccines except BCG and OPV. OPV is currently being blended from imported concentrate. The indigenous capacity of BCG is being enhanced to meet the requirements.
The immunization services are being provided through the existing health care delivery system i.e., MCH centres, primary health centres and sub-centres, hospitals. dispensaries and ICD units. There is no separate cadre of staff for UIP. The recommended national immunization schedule gives further information.
It is generally agreed that when immunization coverage reaches a figure of 80 percent or more, then disease transmission patterns are so severely disrupted as to provide a. degree of protection even for the remaining children who have not been immunized, because of 'herd immunity'.
It is also important that children are immunized during the first year of life and that levels of immunization are sustained so that each new generation is protected.
The impact of the programme is already seen in declining trends of the disease incidence. For example, poliomyelitis which was reported around 38,090 cases in 1981, had declined marginally by 1987 to 28,264 cases, has shown a significant decline after OPV vaccination coverage level reached 50 to 60 percent. During 2001 only 268 cases were reported.
Intensification of immunization programme has contributed to a significant decline in infant mortality rate in the last few years. The decline is particularly pronounced after 1990 as compared to earlier years.
So far, the vaccination coverage achieved under UIP is about 80-90 percent in different parts of the country. The objective in the Ninth Plan was to reach 100 per cent coverage.
As a supplement of the UIP, the Pulse Polio Immunization campaign has been taken up for eradication of poliomyelitis. Later on, campaigns may be taken up against tetanus among pregnant women and newboms and for measles.