22 February 2012
Total 96.42 lakh children below the age of five have been immunised in the state during the polio immunisation drive that started on Sunday.
“As against the targeted immunisation of 1.19 crore children, we have given doses to 96.42 lakh children in Maharashtra. Health staff of 2.9 lakh personnel was deployed to achieve the target,” said V M Kulkarni, assistant director of state health services and incharge of the immunisation programme. The health department has set up 80,690 booths across the state to immunize children on the first day of the drive. Since Monday, there has been a doorto-door visit for children whose parents could not take them to the booths to get the oral drops.
The collated collective figures of children immunised in the state so far in the last four days shows that about 90% targeted population in rural parts has been given the oral doses.
In Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad the coverage is 85% and 84% respectively, Kulkarni said. The immunisation coverage in Mumbai is 66% so far, he added. Among other prominent cities, Nagpur’s rural area has immunised 92% children and 84% in city area. The coverage is 92% in rural parts of Aurangabad and 79% in urban area. “The door-to-door immunisation drive will continue till Friday in the city area and in rural parts of the state it will end on Thursday,” Kulkarni said.
The Union government last year sent an emergency preparedness and strategy plan to all the states and union territories (UT) to eradicate polio in the country. The step came in the wake of the nation’s first and only case of wild poliovirus (WPV 1) reported in February last year in Howrah district in West Bengal.
“The plan is a big push to break the last links in the transmission of wild poliovirus and protect India's poliofree areas. Maharashtra, which has high-risk pockets in Mumbai, Thane, Malegaon, Raigad and Bhiwandi, has already begun the groundwork,” said a health official.
In 2010, five cases of wild poliovirus were detected in Maharashtra. Of them, four were in Malegaon and one in Beed. Except the Howrah case, no case has been reported from anywhere else so far.
The countrywide polio eradication initiative recorded 42 polio cases in 2010 as compared to 741 in 2009.
As long as wild poliovirus transmission continues in any part of the country or the world, the possibilities of virus transportation into poliofree area remains a concern.
All states and union territories have been told that every wild poliovirus case in the country should be treated as a public health emergency and high-quality mop-ups should be conducted urgently in neighbouring areas after its detection, said Pradeep Haldar, assistant commissioner (immunisation ),Union ministry of health and family welfare, in a letter to the principal secretaries of all states and union territories.
The state government has constituted a committee under the health secretary to monitor the high-risk areas and keep a close watch to rule out import of the virus in polio-free areas of the state.
The committee comprises director of state health services, additional director of state family welfare bureau, Pune, state immunization officer, officials from WHO, Unicef and Rotary Club.