The war against polio
[dropcap]D[/dropcap]epartment of health and family welfare, said the department had targeted administering polio drops to over 2.46 lakh children up to 5 years of age State-wide, according to the state immunization officer. The programme is part of the nation-wide campaign against the spread of polio. The first round of Programme in Nagaland for 2014 began on Sunday, January 20 yet the day is but symbolic for the war against polio is an ongoing one till it is fully eradicated like measles. The last case of polio due to wild polio-virus in the country was detected on 13 January 2011 in Howrah district of West Bengal.
Reaching the vast population with diverse socio-cultural practices, overcoming the physical and social barriers, achieving high vaccination coverage in all areas despite weaknesses in health systems and ensuring coverage of the most vulnerable newborns and migrant populations have been the major challenges that have been overcome by the polio programme in India.
India is fully aware of the present global situation of polio eradication. As a polio risk mitigation strategy, 102 vaccination posts have been identified along the bordering areas of Pakistan, Nepal, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Bhutan to ensure continuous vaccination of children under the age of five years crossing these borders. The country is also seeking polio vaccination of all travelers coming to India from the polio endemic and recently infected countries before their departure to India.India is already playing a critical role in the development of the polio end-game strategy, with support from WHO and other partners. The strategy involves a switch from trivalent oral polio vaccine to bivalent oral polio vaccine and a phased withdrawal of the oral polio vaccines from the programme with the possible introduction of inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) in routine immunization schedule.
India is using the polio infrastructure, expertise and operational experience to strengthen routine immunization in the country and protect its children from other vaccine preventable diseases, as well as for health system strengthening, by applying the lessons learned from polio eradication for achieving wider health objectives in the country.
Along with scores of people who were involved in this campaign, a good part of the credit should also go to Dr Harshvardhan who as the Health Minister in BJP Government in Delhi, had the vision to launch the first polio campaign in India way back in 1993.
This progress in polio eradication cannot afford to pause and we cannot rest on our laurels.
It is to be here mentioned that staff of the Nagaland Health and Family Welfare department have been very diligent in carrying out their duties with regard to intense pulse polio immunization. Throughout the State, they have gone out of their way to visit individual families within their jurisdiction since there are any number of parents who perhaps had not been made aware of the consequences of polio affliction.