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Every Child Needs to Be Vaccinated to Lead India into a Polio Free Future - Ramadoss

Speaking at the meeting of Health Ministers of polio affected States organized today to review the status of polio eradication efforts, the Minister for Health & Family Welfare, Dr. Anbumani Ramadoss said that it is critical to sustain the high level of immunity in all polio-affected States by vaccinating all children under the age of five both through routine immunization and Supplementary Immunization Activities (SIAs), so that the polio virus does not get a chance to re-establish its circulation.

Besides the Minister of State for Health & Family Welfare, Smt. Panabaka Lakshmi, Health Ministers from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Uttranchal, Maharashtra, Delhi, Haryana and Gujarat and senior officials representing the States of Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan were present at the meeting. In addition, senior officials from the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, representatives from WHO, ICMR, UNICEF and Rotary International also participated in the discussions.

Appreciating the efforts made by the State Governments, the Minister said the number of polio cases have been lower both during the peak and the trough of the last outbreak as compared to 2002-2003. The core districts of western UP, responsible for the outbreak, have not had a single case of type 1 poliovirus for the last six months, the longest period so far. Though the type 3 poliovirus cases are up slightly, they remain geographically restricted to western UP. The poliovirus transmission has also been low in Bihar.

Since early this year, extraordinary efforts have been made in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar with frequent immunization rounds every four-week using a monovalent polio vaccine with the focus on reaching the youngest children specially the newborns, in the highest risk areas. Some areas in Bihar have already had six immunization rounds.

The programme has been integrated into the National Rural Health Mission and the community link worker
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