New Delhi, Feb 23: India has successfully eliminated maternal and neonatal tetanus "well before" the global targeted timeline, President Pranab Mukherjee said today, underlining that the largest number of children in the country to be fully immunised ever in a single year was in 2015.
Noting that infrastructure needed for effective implementation of Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) is being "strengthened", he said two lakh 'anganwadi' buildings were being constructed in more than 2,500 backward blocks in the country.
"I am happy to inform that we have successfully eliminated maternal and neonatal tetanus well before the global targeted timeline of December 2015. "The largest number of children ever fully immunised in a single year was in 2015," he said in his address to the joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament on the opening day of the Budget session.
Maternal and neonatal tetanus (MNT) have been among the most common lethal consequences of unclean deliveries and umbilical cord care practices. When tetanus develops, mortality rates are extremely high, especially when appropriate medical care is not available.
"Infrastructure required for effective implementation of ICDS is being strengthened in convergence with other programmes. Two lakh anganwadi buildings are being constructed in 2,534 most backward blocks under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme over a period of four years," he said.
Launched on October 2, 1975, ICDS scheme is one of the key programmes for early childhood care and development.
It aims at improving the nutritional and health status of children in the age-group 0-6 years and reducing the incidence of mortality, morbidity, malnutrition and school dropout amongst others.
Holding that the government has placed "strong focus" on holistic healthcare, strengthening of ayurveda, yoga and naturopathy, unani, siddha and sowa-rigpa and homoeopathy systems of medicine, Mukherjee said that the first International Day of Yoga (IDY) was celebrated on June 21 June last year world over with "immense enthusiasm".