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Immunizing India’s Children

© UNICEF/India/2006
Millions of children immunized against six major preventable diseases

Under the leadership of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, India started working towards universal child immunization. With around twenty-four million newborns a year the task was enoromous.

In 1985, Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi committed India to universal child immunization by 1990, as a living memorial to his mother. His Government launched six national missions. UNICEF collaborated closely on three, including the National Mission on Immunization.

A massive communication campaign ran nationwide to create a sense of urgency among parents. 

© UNICEF/India/2006
Immunizing children

At the end of 1990, India announced that immunization coverage for children under the age of one had surpassed 80%.

UNICEF assisted in:
• Creation of a cold chain to ensure that vaccines did not deteriorate. Low cost freezers and specially insulated cold boxes were developed and supplied.                                                                                

• Creation of a ‘Fixed Day’ schedule to ensure that vaccines and children arrived at the anganwadi on the same day. 

Challenges remain…

Figures for child immunization coverage have slipped over the years, in some cases drastically. What India did in the late eighties showed what could be achieved.  The challenge for the future is to bring India back to the point reached 16 years ago.



For every child
Health, Education, Equality, Protection