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Triumph on Polio - Something to Cheer about?

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Photo Courtesy - The Hindu

Finally India has managed to stop the spread of "Polio" disease in the country. On January 12, 2012, all the news media proudly carried this news of 'Zero' polio case on their front pages. Truly a moment of celebration, achievement and result of 16 years of hardwork.

India's Rs 12,000-crore pulse polio programme has finally shown results with the country being free of polio for one year for the first time ever. India's last polio case was detected in a two-year-old girl in Panchla block of Howrah, West Bengal, on January 13,2011.

Each national pulse polio immunisation round involves 24 lakh vaccinators visiting over 20 crore homes to vaccinate 17.2 crore children under the age of five years. Over 50 lakh children are immunised during each round in UP, Bihar and Mumbai alone. The result was no polio in UP since April 2010 and in Bihar since September 2010.

Experts, however, say it is still a bit premature to celebrate. "High-quality immunisation has to be maintained to guard against re-importation of wild poliovirus from  Pakistan, China and Afghanistan, which had polio outbreaks in 2011."

Source - Hindustan Times


In our own Bengaluru city, the last polio case was detected in 2007 after recording zero cases in 2005 and 2006. Karnataka recorded 71 cases in 1998 but subsequently saw cases drop to zero in 2001 and 2002. However, 36 cases were recorded in 2003 before the numbers dropped again to zero in 2005 and 2006.

Source - Indian Express

Looking at the daunting task to cover 17.2 crore children, the achievement deserves all praise. Very interesting this was  a government's sponsored and executed program. It is a fit example of how to plan and execute a successful nationwide program targeting specific audience. It would be a good research topic to find out the elements of success for such massive exercise.

Personally I remember this event in 1995 December, when the 'Pulse Polio' program was launched. I was at my In-laws place away from B'lore and students from nearby school knocked on the door and reminded to get our daughter the polio vaccination. My daughter was 2-3 months old then. The program was launched countrywide on the same day. The program was very well planned and executed with vast army of volunteers it had fielded. The school children and staff were cleverly used to ensure that every family and every child under 5 years is covered. Students knocked on every door, household and convinced them to get thier child drops of polio vaccination. Every place of public importance was covered - Bus stands, Railway Station, Vegetable Markets, Cinema theaters etc all had the volunteers with Kiosk setup to ensure that no child is left out. Haven't seen such a well planned and a successful execution of a government program.

Even though the target for zero case was not met in 2005 itself but looking at India's demography and vast population, even in 2012 is  a great achievement.

Really a big thank to all those volunteers, workers, planners and mangers for ensuring every child is immunized against polio.



psaram42's picture

Drug Resistance and TB in India

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It is heartening to note that polio germs have been wiped out from the planet. However there is bad news about TB in India.

kbsyed61's picture

Rough Ride!

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The Polio eradication campaign was not an easy one given the difficult environment that it had to face. Logistics and Manpower to reach every child, Funding, Availability of vaccines and their quality control and most importantly many of the parents reluctance to vaccinate were all played heavily in this campaign.

The road to this accomplishment was not easy on science and medical field either.

The decade of agony

The year 2000 was the target date for global eradication set by the World Health Assembly in 1988. Intense efforts by countries, guided by GPEI, resulted in success in most countries and partial success in all countries. Of the 3 types of polioviruses, type 2 was globally eradicated in 1999 — with the last case in Uttar Pradesh. But transmission of types 1 and 3 continued in six countries. Later, two more succeeded, leaving India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria with continuing transmission beyond 2005. In India, during the last decade, over 95 per cent of cases occurred in U.P. and Bihar — arguably the world's most difficult spots for eradication. In 2000 and 2001, there were 265 and 268 cases but in 2002 an outbreak occurred with 1600 cases, mostly type 1. Then, the numbers dwindled to 225 and 134 in 2003 and 2004, and 66 in 2005. All hopes of success were shattered by another polio outbreak in 2006, with 648 cases of type 1 and 28 of type 3 polio.

Source - The Hindu

kbsyed61's picture

One more year of Polio Free!

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Indeed, nothing is as accomplishing as this one in Post-indpendent India. India is celebrating another Polio-free year. 2 Years in a row. Come 2014 with no polio cases reported in 2013, India will adjudged a Polio-Free country. We all pary for, if not for stastics, it is for our younger generation to be hale and healthy for healthy India.

Source - The Hindu

‘It is probably the biggest public health success story of this century

It is two years since India has had a polio case. One more before the country can say ‘Goodbye, Polio.’ The battle against the wild polio virus is poised interestingly in the nation that, not long ago, in 2009, accounted for nearly half the world’s polio cases.

An 11-member Regional Certification Commission from the WHO’s South East Asia Region is meeting regularly to review reports submitted by India’s National Certification Committee. Three years of absence of polio cases, caused by the wild polio virus (WPV), coupled with intense surveillance, is essential before India can be declared polio-free, in 2014. comment guidelines

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