By Mandeep Puri, 9 Jan : Since 2006, no case of poliomyelitis has been reported in Chandigarh. In Punjab, four cases of polio were reported in 2009 against two in 2008 while in Haryana, only one case was reported in 2009 as compared to two in 2008. This was disclosed at a meeting of the State Co-ordination Committee held here today under the chairmanship of Mr. Ajoy Sharma, Special Secretary, Health, UT Administration.
It may be recalled that before introduction of the National Immunization Days (NIDs) in 1995, India had been the world’s largest polio endemic country. About 35,000 children were paralyzed by polio every year.
While elaborating the achievements of the Health Department to make Chandigarh polio-free, Mr. Sharma said that in 1999, 1,126 cases of polio were reported in the country but the number went down to 685 in 2009. He complimented all those who had participated in the pulse polio immunization campaigns despite constraints.
Dr. M.S. Bains, Director, Health Services, Chandigarh, said that during the three pulse polio immunization campaigns held in October, November and December, 2009, 1,27, 565; 1,30,507 and 1,29,075 children in the age group of 0-5 years, were covered. More than 82 per cent of children in Chandigarh have been given three dozes of polio vaccine each.
In major outbreak that originated in Western Uttar Pradesh in 2002, 1,600 cases were reported which spread to other States that had been polio free for more than one year.
As a sequel to the numbers of Supplemental Immunization Activities (SIAs) to curtail the cases of polio being increased, the number of cases polio decreased to 134 in 44 districts from 1,600 cases in 159 districts between 2002 and 2004 in the country. “2003 is the most significant year in the history of polio eradication in the country because of improved surveillance sensitivity that enabled us to indentify the areas of transmission. These areas have been targeted for intensive SIAs to eliminate the last chain of transmitting the disease”, Dr. Bains said.
Chandigarh has been divided into three zones supervised by 15 area supervisors and sectors are being supervised by 78 sector supervisors. The department has established 439 stationary booths and 93 mobile booths.