The Hon. President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, launched the Pulse Polio programme for 2019 by administering polio drops to children less than five years old, at the Rahstrapati Bhawan, in the presence of Shri J P Nadda, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare. The Hon. President administered the polio drops on the eve of the National Immunization Day, which is observed tomorrow. More than 17 crore children of less than five years across the country will be given polio drops as part of the drive of Government of India to sustain polio eradication from the country.Speaking at the function, the Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare J P Nadda said that under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, Universal Immunization Programme is focusing to protect children from more diseases than ever before and has introduced several new vaccines like Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine, Rotavirus vaccine, and Measles-Rubella vaccine in the recent past. “To provide additional protection to our children, Government has also introduced the injectable Inactivated Polio Vaccine into its routine immunization program,” Shri Nadda added. Shri J P Nadda pointed out that Government is making all efforts to protect children from more and more diseases and emphasized that all vaccines under the programme must reach every last child of the country. “Along with Universal Immunization Programme of the country, we have also launched Mission Indradhanush to accelerate our goal to achieve more than 90% full immunization coverage. More than 3.39 crore children and 87 lakh pregnant women have been vaccinated through Mission Indradhanush drives,” Shri Nadda elaborated.Shri Nadda further informed that strengthening of immunization programme has contributed significantly to the decline of Infant Mortality Rate from 39 in 2014 to 32 per 1000 live births in 2017.The Health Minister also appreciated the efforts of State Governments and the supporting organizations like WHO, UNICEF and Rotary International etc., for strengthening the efforts of the Government not only for polio programme but also for other initiatives in immunization. He also applauded the efforts of the thousands of volunteers, frontline workers, and health officials across the states for their tireless efforts in keeping the country polio-free.Also present at the function were Smt. Preeti Sudan, Secretary (HFW), senior officers of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare and representatives of development partners.