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The health ministry on Thursday launched a mobile healthcare system which will help vaccinate children at their doorsteps to protect them from life-threatening diseases. Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad launched the 'National Teeka Express' in Alwar, Rajasthan.
Under the routine immunization programme, nurses and mid-wives collect vaccines from storage points and transport them to various places for vaccination. A senior health ministry official said the government had noticed gaps in vaccine delivery in areas with poor access to healthcare, hence this service was launched.
Often, nurses and mid-wives have to collect vaccines on the day preceding immunization. This may break the cold chain maintenance and lead to possible loss of potency. Improper storage could also have adverse effects.
Under the new initiative, designated 'National Teeka Express' vehicles will not only help in distributing the vaccines but also hold immunization sessions at mobile vaccination centres. The 'Teeka Express' will also serve as a mobile healthcare delivery unit for areas lacking health care facility or health worker.
The scheme is to be piloted in 69 high-priority districts with difficult terrain and low immunization coverage. For this, 1,850 vehicles are planned to be procured with government assistance. In the first phase, 120 'Teeka Express' vehicles are to ply in six districts of five states - Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir and Madhya Pradesh.
Operational costs of the initiative have been provided under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), a release said. Under NRHM, Rs.79.3 crore was allocated to the states as support for vaccine delivery in 2012-13.
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