Indian Health Ministry Relaunches Already Existing Programs and Claims Credit

by Bidita Debnath on  July 24, 2015 at 2:07 AM General Health News
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The Indian health ministry has relaunched existing programs during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's first year in office and claimed credit for programs not launched by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government.

Fact-checker took a look at the claims and realities:
Indian Health Ministry Relaunches Already Existing Programs and Claims Credit
Indian Health Ministry Relaunches Already Existing Programs and Claims Credit

1. Mission Indradhanush, a new immunization program: Only the name is new

Claim: A new program named Mission Indradhanush will target areas of low immunization.

Reality: Mission Indradhanush is the new name for Special Immunization Weeks (SIWs), which have been conducted every year in areas of low immunization under the Universal Immunization Program (UIP).

Special vaccination campaigns were planned for seven to 10 days in 201 high-focus districts during March-June 2015 under Mission Indradhanush. But this has routinely been done in preceding years. For example, in 2013-14, four rounds (April, June, July and August) of SIWs were conducted in 31 states and union territories. More than 9.8 million doses of various antigens were administered to children.

Similarly, during 2012-13, SIWs were carried out in low-coverage areas and more than 17.3 million doses of various antigens were administered.

2. Mission Indradhanush will be world's largest immunization drive: It already is

Claim: Mission Indradhanush, "the largest-ever immunization drive", will immunize 8.9 million children.

Reality: UIP is one of the largest programs in the world, according to immunization summary report jointly published by United Nations Children's Fund and World Health Organization.

More than 20 million pregnant women and children were immunized during 2011-12, according to data released by the health ministry.

3. Fact-checker (INAP): One of many existing plans

Claim: INAP aims to end all preventable new-born deaths and still births by 2030.

Reality: INAP is the latest entrant to a long list of existing interventions under the National Health Mission (NHM) to reduce neo-natal and maternal mortality.

A few of these interventions and programs are:
  • Round-the-clock maternal care services at community health centers and primary health centers promotion of institutional delivery through Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY) and Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakram (JSSK) new-born care corners at all health facilities
  • Special new born care units (SNCUs) and new born stabilization units
  • Home-based new born care through Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs)
  • Prevention and treatment of anemia with iron and folic acid tablets during pregnancy and lactation prevention of anemia due to malaria, tackled by long-lasting insecticide nets and insecticide-treated bed nets
  • Name-based tracking of pregnant women to ensure ante-natal, intra-natal and post-natal care integrated management of neo-natal and childhood illnesses
  • Universal immunization program for about 135 million children against seven vaccine-preventable diseases through nine million immunization sessions each year
  • Capacity building of healthcare providers through training of nurses under NHM
  • Engagement of more than 0.89 million ASHAs village health and nutrition days
  • Reproductive maternal new-born child-health+adolescent interventions in 184 high priority districts
The two targets proposed in INAP are reducing preventable new-born deaths and reducing preventable still-births to single digits, fewer than 10 per 1,000 live births by 2030 (as against 22 per 1,000 live births).

4. India's first mental-health policy launched: Work began in 2011

Claim: Launched the country's first-ever mental health policy.

Reality: The work of framing a national mental-health policy began in April 2011, following a resolution on mental disorders adopted at the World health Assembly. The government constituted a policy group to frame a mental-health policy, launched in October 2014.

Source: IANS

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