Special polio vaccine drive on children’s day, India

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The Indian Minister of Health and Family Welfare Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad said that the Indian Government will very soon introduce bi-valent oral polio vaccine to attack the type 1 and type 3 virus to deal with the fresh outbreak of type 3 virus.

Government is committed to wipe out polio from the country and in this national and international organizations, state governments and general public will have to work in a concerted manner, Shri Azad said. He was speaking after formally launching the special polio vaccine drive here. Shri Azad also inaugurated free health camp organized by the Rotary Club.

The Health Minister mooted the idea of special drive in the face of persistent prevalence of the disease. He has also envisaged a registry of immunized children which can be verified centrally. The Special Drive is being conducted in 10 states viz., Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Delhi, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Punjab, Haryana, Uttrakhand , Rajasthan and West Bangal. While in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Delhi this drive is being done in a very large area, in other states, the drive will take place largely for the migrating population. About five lakh children will be vaccinated on Children’s Day. This will include particularly the children belonging to urban slums and street children.

This year, so far 568 cases have been reported as compared to 559 last year. Western Uttar Pradesh is witnessing a sharp rise in type 3 cases (427 cases out of total 454 cases in the state). Bihar is another focus area where we have 68 cases out of total 103 cases from type-3. Introduction of bi-valent vaccine is likely to improve the situation a great deal. In 2009, UP and Delhi will have 7 sub national immunization days in addition to the usual national days whereas Bihar will have 8 additional immunization days.

In Uttar Pradesh and Bihar the special drive will cover children in urban slums and street children. B teams of polio vaccine campaign will ensure vaccination of all children left out in the recent polio campaigns with special emphasis on migratory populations, brick kilns, construction sites and nomadic population sites. Special focus will be on transit points like bus stands, railway stations, fairs and other congregation sites. In other states special focus is on migratory population in specific areas. Large number of supervisors and Field Volunteers will be deployed along with intense awareness drive.

Source: Press Information Bureau, India

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