By Yadavindra S Rana,Chandigarh- Country has to wait for three more years to be declared polio-free, Himachal earned the distinction of being polio-free. Thanks to the decade-long early detection-cum-treatment strategy, adopted by the state government against eradication of polio, has moved up the ladder again. During the first half of this year, no case of poliomyelitis has been reported in the state as well in the country.
While elaborating the achievements of the State Health Department to make the state polio-free, the health minister Rajiv Bindal said that since 2006 no case of polio was reported in the state. He further said that during the three pulse polio immunization campaigns held in 2010, around 7.17 lakh children were administered pulse polio drops to the children upto five years of age compared to 8 lakh children in the age group of 0-5 years, were covered under the pulse polio campaign in 2011.More than 82.1 per cent of children in Himachal have been given three dozes of polio vaccine each.
It was revealed by Mr R.K. Saboo, former Rotary International Chairman, in a meeting held with Punjab Polio Task Force recently. He told that India Experts Advisory Group (IEAG) had recently held a meeting in Delhi and informed that the country has been working against polio in the right direction.
Mr Saboo also disclosed that if July and September remained polio free then it would be a new record for the country in 2011. Whereas its director Yashpal Das stated that in the coming months risk of incidence of polio has not only increased in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar but also in Punjab, Maharashtra, Delhi.
Since 2006, no case of poliomyelitis has been reported in the state. In Punjab, four cases of polio were reported in 2009 against two in 2008 while in Haryana only one case P3 was reported in Faridabad district in 2009 as compared to two in 2008.
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.
Mr Saboo stated 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 campaign against polio despite constraints.
Rotary is the leading private-sector contributor, second only to the United States Government. By end 2011 Rotary’s worldwide contribution towards Polio Eradication shall be more than US$ 650 million and In India, Rotary has contributed US $ 86.97 million till now.
India is one of the four countries (other three are Nigeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan) which is still struggling polio. There has been only a single case of polio reported in India over the last 11 months.
Rotary International is one of the biggest service club organizations with over 1.2 million members in 33, 000 clubs worldwide. The polio eradication project was initiated by the organization in 1979 wherein more than 600,000 children were immunized against polio in Philippines. In 1988 the immunizations were taken to other Asian and African nations.
“Rotary International will formally declare India a polio-free country within the next three years,” said its president, Ray Klinginsmith.