First phase of national polio campaign concludes

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New Delhi, Jan 6 (UNI) The first phase of the National Immunisation Drive was undertaken today as part of a special pulse polio campaign to make India a Polio-free nation.

In a fight against P I virus, at least 28 lakh children in the age group of 0-5 years were administered anti-polio drops in Delhi today as part of the national Pulse Polio Campaign.

Elaborate arrangements were made by the Delhi government for the same, with 9000 Polio booths being set up at major temples, railway stations, ISBTs, public places, including Appu Ghar, Metro Stations, Millennium Park, Zoo and McDonalds' outlets.

At least 30,000 workers and employees of the Health Department had been deployed to ensure maximum reach from 0900 hrs to 1600 hrs.

Last year, only two cases of Polio were reported in Delhi against 592 across the country, In 2006, the country reported 676 Polio cases.

In the neighbouring Uttar Pradesh, several lakh children were administered the polio drops.

''No child below five yrs of age should be left without the ''do boond zindagi ki''...it is only then that the country could fulfil its dream,'' UP medical and health minister Anant Kumar Mishra underlined, while administering drops to the minors at Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee (civil) hospital.

He also directed the officers to provide the drops door-to-door between January 7 and 11.

However, in Bihar, nine new cases were detected in the Darbhanga district, despite a vigorous drive undertaken in the state to eradicate the disease.

District civil surgeon Dr Lakhinder Prasad said that nine new polio cases had been confirmed by a pathological test report carried out by a reputed centre at Lucknow.

The pathological test confirmed that all these children were affected with P3 virus, Mr Prasad said, adding that a special drive of Pulse Polio would be launched in these areas from where new cases were reported.

''Hayaghat, Keoti and Kusheshwarsthan blocks of the district were worst affected as most of the new cases were reported from these areas'', Mr Prasad said.

A similar programme was launched by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi in which the vaccine was administered to about 70 lakh children below the age of five years at immunisation booths set up at 40,399 public places across the state.

Private doctors were also asked to keep their clinic open for the purpose.

Puducherry Chief Minister N Rangasamy also inaugurated the Immunisation Programme at his residence by administering polio drops to a few children.

As many as 93,000 children below five years have been targeted for the immunisation drive in the Union Territory.

More than 200 booths were set up in Bangalore under the anti-poio drive. A repeat round of vaccination would be held on February 10.

The first phase of the drive concluded in Himachal Pradesh with over seven lakh children being administered polio drops across twelve districts of the state.

Earlier, launching the campaign at Bachat Bhawan, Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal called upon the people to ensure that the Pulse Polio drops were administered to all children below five years of age.

Around 7,31,875 children below five years of age were administration pulse polio drops in 5,855 booths, by 93 mobile and 86 transit teams across the state, the sources said.

All left out children would be administered the drops in the next two days during the house to house campaign in the entire state, they added.

The nationwide anti-polio campaign was launched yesterday by Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit.

The focus of the campaign is eradication of more dangerous P-I virus of Polio.

P-II virus of Polio was eliminated in 1999 whereas eradication of P-III virus would be undertaken in due course. Out of around 667 cases of Polio reported in the country last year, 600 were related to P-I virus.

UNI Team AKJ AS1923

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