OWING TO the stress on the polio immunisation drive, Family Welfare Department officers’ focus has shifted from routine immunisation programmes.
While the department has been combating polio, killer diseases like measles, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, tuberculosis and encephalitis have returned.
Doctors at the King George’s Medical University (KGMU) Paediatrics Department say when routine immunisation drives were organised, diseases like measles, diphtheria and tetanus were virtually eradicated.
“But, now there has been a sudden spurt in cases of measles, diphtheria, whooping cough and tetanus,” they say.
“With all the focus on polio, routine immunisation has been neglected. Earlier, all children were immunised after birth and cards were issued to their parents,” doctors say.
“Now no one seems to be bothered about routine immunisation. Since a majority of the women residing in the rural areas are illiterate, they do not have knowledge of immunisation.”
Government records speak of the outbreak of measles, diphtheria, TB, whooping cough and tetanus. Measles has infected 863 children and 32 have been reported dead within three months. There has been an alarming increase in cases of whooping cough, diphtheria and TB, too, says a Family Welfare Department officer.
State Family Welfare Department officers held a meeting with the Union Health and Family Welfare Department in New Delhi on Friday to discuss the routine immunisation drive. Director general, Family Welfare, Dr LB Prasad says, “ An immunisation drive will be launched all over the state soon.” A core team has been constituted. Family Welfare Minister Ahmed Hasan says he has already directed officers to launch a routine programme.