Bihar inches closer to polio eradication

PATNA: With no case of polio being reported during the last 15 months, i.e. since September, 2010, Bihar has recorded the longest polio-free period, said the state health secretary and executive director of State Health Society, Sanjay Kumar, here on Tuesday.

“We are very close to polio eradication,” he said, adding that the risk of resurgence of residual polio transmission or risk of importation from other countries remained. He said the momentum of pulse polio programme should be maintained to cover the 0.5% children who remained missing and could not be given polio vaccine.

The Independent Monitoring Board, which monitors progress in global polio eradication, has hailed the efforts of India for its progress towards eradication of polio, he said.

Kumar and World Health Organization (WHO), Bihar, polio manager, John Okoro, lauded the work of people involved in polio immunization and gave away awards for good work to ASHA workers Rajkumari and Poonam Kumari, Anganbari workers Rani Kumari and Sindhu Kumari, community mobilization coordinator, Rekha Kumari, WHO National Polio Surveillance Project (NPSP) field worker Asgar Ali, Dr Arun Kumar, Dr Sharda Prasad Vinayak, Mohan Kumar Singh and Lalan Rai.

Detection of polio cases in Bihar had reduced from 233 in 2008 to 117 in 2010, and the last case of polio was detected in the month of September, 2010, in Dhaka block in East Champaran district, which was a result of cross-border transmission from Nepal, he said.

In 2011, nine high-quality polio immunization campaigns had been conducted in high-risk areas of Bihar with 99.5% coverage in each campaign. The next campaign is scheduled to start from January 15, 2012, covering 13 high-risk districts in North Bihar, he said.

The state government conducted special activities providing additional vaccination opportunities to ‘populations in transit’ that arrived in the state from outside. During Diwali and Chhath festivals, 13.3 lakh children were immunized by the vaccination teams at major transit points and river banks, Kumar said. He commended the works of Rotary Club, WHO, UNICEF, IMA, Railways, NCC, SSB and Comfed.

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