Setback to polio eradication campaign

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Patna, Sep 21 (UNI) The polio eradication programme in Bihar still remains a distant dream as the hospitals were not even having the only monovalent Oral Polio Vaccines (OPV) vaccines available here.

Centre for Health and Resource Management (CHARM) executive director Dr Shakeel here today said the routine immunisation was being seriously compromised in the midst of special rounds of Polio Eradication Initiative (PEI) campaigns.

He alleged that there was no supply of OPVs to the hospitals during September for routine immunisation sessions adding that the PEI campaign was solely dependent on special rounds.

Dr Shakeel said the OPVs being used in pulse polio campaigns were monovalent vaccines, having antigens only against P2 polio virus, whereas the OPVs used during routine immunisations were trivalent, having antigens against P1, P2 and P3 virus.

The health department had claimed that only P2 virus was in circulation while P1 and P3 virus had been contained. However, the re-emergence of new cases of polio with P3 virus during September belied the claim of the health department, he maintained.

Dr Shakeel, who had also taken up health programmes in Pakistan, pointed out that the routine immunisation in the state had been abysmally low with more than two-thirds of the children still not fully immunised.

With no supply of OPVs during routine immunisation sessions in the government hospitals, the goal of polio eradication would remain a far cry and the re-emergence of P3 polio was a case in pointer.

The idea of pulse polio campaign was based on the hypothesis that special polio rounds on the edifice of good routine immunisations would eradicate Polio, he said adding that good immunisation meant that 80 per cent of the children must be fully immunised.

Low immunisation coverage in Bihar with erratic supply of vaccines had compounded the problem, he alleged.

UNI

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