The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind has launched a Pulse Polio Programme for 2019. This announcement was made at the Rashtrapati Bhawan on 9 March 2019.
What is Polio?
Poliomyelitis (polio) is a deadly infectious viral disease. The virus is transmitted from person to person and can attack the infected person’s brain or spinal cord causing paralysis.
The initial symptoms of polio are fever, headache, vomiting, pain in limbs, fatigue, and stiffness in the neck. The virus invades the nervous system. Polio mainly affects young children. There is no cure for polio available yet, but it can be prevented by immunization.
There are two types of vaccines available for preventing polio. One is an Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) which is given orally as a birth dose, during the 6th, 10th and 14th week and one at 16-24 months of age. The second type of vaccine is Injectable Polio Vaccine (IPV) which is an additional dose.
History of Polio in India
Polio has been considered as one of the oldest diseases found in India. The existence of this disease goes way back in history.
In the early 1990s India was under a hyperendemic for polio. The disease was very common. An average of 500 to 1000 children were getting paralyzed daily.
India witnessed transmission with sustained and extraordinary efforts by the government and people. The government of India did regular annual pulse polio vaccination campaigns 10 times each year.
On February 25, 2012, the World Health Organization (WHO) removed India from the list of ‘polio-endemic’ countries.
With the regular efforts done by the Indian government, India is now a polio-free nation. Polio is eliminated from India, but to maintain that status is essential.
Initiatives Taken by the Government
The Indian government has now launched a countrywide Pulse Polio Programme. This programme was initiated on the eve of National Immunization Day. On this day the President of India Shri Ram Nath Kovind administrated polio drops to children.
This initiative is part of the drive of the Government of India to sustain polio eradication from the country. Under this programme, more than 17 crore children of less than five years were given polio drops across the country.
The government of India is making efforts to protect children from more and more diseases. The idea is to provide vaccines to every last child of the country.
Recently under the Universal Immunization Programme, several new vaccines have been introduced like Rotavirus vaccine, Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine, and Measles-Rubella vaccine.
What are the concerned people saying?
Shri J P Nadda, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, said, “Along with Universal Immunization Programme of the country, we have also launched Mission Indradhanush to accelerate our goal to achieve more than 90% full immunization coverage. More than 3.39 crore children and 87 lakh pregnant women have been vaccinated through Mission Indradhanush drives.”
Shri J P Nadda also added by saying, “To provide additional protection to our children, Government has also introduced the injectable Inactivated Polio Vaccine into its routine immunization program.”
The government of India claims that there is a decline in Infant Mortality Rate. In 2014 the infant mortality rate was 39 per 1000 live births and in the year 2017, it is reduced to 32 per 1000 live births.
The Indian government is continuously working towards making the country disease and infection free.