Slowly it is now being reported and acknowledged as well that polio eradication has been a failure in
Polio is a virus that causes paralysis. The virus multiplies in the gut and is spread by contaminated water. Improvements in water and sanitation can control the disease.
The polio control programme was working well till 1998 when WHO and other international bodies came up with this grand pulse polio programme.
Pulse Polio is an immunization campaign established by the government of
The campaign proved to be successful, or so it was thought and the incidence of poliomyelitis in
The oral vaccine being used in
- That just three doses of the oral vaccine would protect a child from polio;
- That the live but weakened viral strain used in the oral vaccine would spread to other children who had not been immunized and protect them too; and
- That the oral vaccine would induce strong immunity in the intestines and protect children from being infected.
The choice of OPV (Oral Polio Vaccine) was questioned well at the beginning itself by experts like Dr. Pushpa Bhargava, the present Vice Chairman of National Knowledge Commission. It is reported that the India Expert Advisory Group, the official body monitoring the polio eradication programme has recommended that two rounds of injectible polio vaccine (IPV) be administered to all children in
While the experts can be relied on to identify which of the types of vaccines is most suitable for tackling polio in the present juncture, what is appalling is that we have not been able to improve the sanitation conditions in our most populous regions even after nearly six decades of independence! More so when the conditions are in a position to interfere with vaccination programmes. It is time the Governments both at the Centre and in UP woke up to the stark realities of polio non-eradication and act fast without much ado.