India will launch a nationwide Japanese encephalitis immunization programme for children from May, Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss said here Tuesday.
The health menace, which is caused by a virus transmitted by mosquitoes, had claimed over 1,000 lives, mostly in Uttar Pradesh, in 2005 and around 1,700 lives in 2004.
"The initiative to be implemented in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO) will focus on strengthening infrastructure and capacity building of the healthcare delivery system," Ramadoss told reporters on the sideline of a health convention here.
"The target group of this programme will be those between the age of one and 15.
"Health authorities will be trained and the basic diagnostic knowledge of the disease will be imparted to the health officials as well," he said.
Ramadoss said the government planned to eliminate Kala Azar by the end of 2010.