The BJP government has published an infographic on the 48-months portal that makes five claims about eliminating diseases & vaccination. This article is a fact check of the claims.
Has India eliminated maternal and neo-natal tetanus?
The first claim is that ‘India has validated elimination of maternal and neo-natal tetanus in May 2015, before the global target of December 2015’.
A response in Lok Sabha from August 2016 stated that ‘WHO has certified Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus Elimination (MNTE) in India in May 2015, well before the global target date of December 2015. WHO has also certified India to be free from YAWS, a chronic bacterial disease, in May 2016’.
Claim: India has validated elimination of maternal and neo-natal tetanus in may 2015, before the global target of December 2015.
Fact: WHO has certified Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus Elimination (MNTE) in India in May 2015, well before the global target date of December 2015. Hence, the claim is TRUE.
Have action plans for elimination of leprosy, measles and TB been implemented?
The second claim is that ‘action plans to eliminate leprosy by 2018, measles by 2020 and Tuberculosis by 2025 implemented’.
An answer given in the Lok Sabha to a similar question in December 2017, shows that target years have been set by the government to eliminate Leprosy, Measles and Tuberculosis. It states that ‘Elimination of Leprosy i.e., 1 case/ 10000 population at National level was already achieved in the year 2005. The short term target is reduction of Grade II disability cases to less than one million population, as per WHO document on Global Leprosy Strategy, 2016 – 2020’.
It also states that ‘as on 18th December 2017, more than 6.5 crore children have been vaccinated with MR vaccine (against measles) in 13 States/UTs’. It also finally points out that ‘the incidence of TB has reduced from 217 per lakh per year in 2015 to 211 per lakh per year in 2016 and mortality has reduced from 36 per lakh per year in 2015 to 32 per lakh per year in 2016’. These action plans are continuous works of various governments and they have been implementing action plans and vaccination programmes. For example, ‘Government of India introduced measles vaccine across the country in 1985 under the Universal Immunization Programme (UIP). To further reduce the measles burden, a second dose of measles vaccine was introduced in the country in the year 2010’.
Claim: Action plans to eliminate leprosy by 2018, measles by 2020 and Tuberculosis by 2025 implemented.
Fact: Actions plans have been implemented to eliminate Leprosy by 2018, measles by 202 and TB by 2025. Hence, the claim is TRUE. However, these action plans are continuous works of various governments and they have been implementing action plans.
What is mission Indradhanush?
The third claim is that ‘Mission Indradhanush completed four phases covering 528 districts’
Immunization Program in India was introduced in 1978 as ‘Expanded Program of Immunization’ (EPI) by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India. In 1985, the program was modified as ‘Universal Immunization Program’ (UIP) to be implemented in phased manner to cover all districts in the country by 1989-90 with the one of largest health programs in the world. Despite being operational for many years, UIP has been able to fully immunize only 65% children in the first year of their life.
According to the National health portal of Government of India, to strengthen and re-energize the program and achieve full immunization coverage for all children and pregnant women at a rapid pace, the Government of India launched ‘Mission Indradhanush’ in December 2014. As per the portal, the ultimate goal of Mission Indradhanush is to ensure full immunization with all available vaccines for children up to two years of age and pregnant women. An answer in Lok Sabha from April 2017 has stated that ‘in order to realize the objective set under Mission Indradhanush, the Government has completed three phases of Mission Indradhanush across 497 districts and the fourth phase is ongoing in 68 districts across 8 north eastern states since February’17’. Another answer is Lok Sabha from August 2018 has pointed out that ‘No separate funds are allocated for Mission Indradhanush. Funds allocated for Routine Immunization under part C of Programme Implementation Plan (PIP) are being utilized by the states to carryout activities under Mission Indradhanush’. In other words, though the program has been given a new name, it is being implemented with fund allocated for routine immunization.
Claim: Mission Indradhanush completed four phases covering 528 districts.
Fact: A total of 565 districts have been covered under the scheme. Hence, the claim is TRUE. However, though the program has been given a new name, it is being implemented with fund allocated for routine immunization and no special funds have been earmarked.
Have 80 lakh pregnant women been immunized?
The fourth claim, related to the previous claim is that ‘80.63 lakh pregnant women immunized’.
According to an answer provided in Lok Sabha from August 2018, a total of 81.78 lakh pregnant women have been immunized under mission Indradhanush.
Claim: 80.63 lakh pregnant women immunized.
Fact: A total of 81.78 lakh pregnant women have been immunized under mission Indradhanush. Hence, the claim is TRUE.
Have 3 crore children been vaccinated?
The last claim, also related to the earlier claim is that ‘3.15 crore children vaccinated’.
In an answer provided in the Lok Sabha in August 2018, it is stated that ‘319.28 lakh children have been immunized by August 2018’.But this is not the first time that such large scale vaccination drives have taken place in India. The immunization program is one of the oldest government programs. For instance, 7.78 crore children across India were vaccinated in 109 districts for Japanese Encephalitis between 2006 & 2010. In 2013-14, 1.2 crore children were vaccinated with Measles vaccine in 45 districts in 13 States with 87.2% coverage. During Phase II, 3.6 crore children were vaccinated in 152 districts in 14 States. The Phase III of the campaign 11.8 crore children (85%) had been vaccinated in 167 districts in 5 States i.e. Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Bihar.
Claim: 3.15 crore children vaccinated.
Fact: 319.282 lakh (3.19 crore) children have been immunized by August 2018. Hence, the claim is TRUE. However, this is not the first time that such a large scale immunization programme has been taken up and implemented.
This story is part of a larger series on the 4-years of the Modi government. This series has been made possible with the flash grant of the International Fact Checking Network (IFCN). Read the rest of the stories in this series here