Youth Affairs and Sports Minister Jitendra Singh was also present at the launch of the "National Teeka Express", launched to protect children from life-threatening childhood diseases.
"Under the National Immunization Express Programme, the government aims to make the vaccines available to remote rural areas on time and safely," Azad said inaugurating the programme.
He flagged off 64 vehicles to be used for transpiration of vaccines.
"The project is being launched from Rajasthan as the state has been ahead of other states in implementation of the various healthcare schemes launched by the government," said Azad.
Azad said that the project will ensure that vaccines reach remote areas on time.
Explaining the rationale for the problem, a senior health ministry official said that under the routine immunization programme, nurses and mid-wives collect vaccines from storage points and transport them to various places for vaccination.
Often, they had to collect vaccines on the day preceding immunization. This could break the cold chain maintenance and lead to possible loss of potency. Improper storage could also have adverse effects.
The official said the government had noticed gaps in vaccine delivery in areas with poor access to health care, hence this service was launched.
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.
They will also serve as a mobile health care delivery unit for areas lacking health care facility or health worker. After the immunization outreach session, they will collect immunization related bio-medical waste for safe disposal at vaccine storage points.
The venture is planned to be piloted in 69 high priority districts with difficult areas and low immunization coverage. For these districts, 1,850 vehicles are planned to be procured with the central government's assistance.
In the first phase the 120 vehicles of 'Teeka Express'' are planned in six districts of Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir and Madhya Pradesh.
--IANS (Posted on 02-08-2013)