Rattled by a spurt in polio cases which have touched a figure of 297 in 2006, the Union Health Ministry has called an emergency meeting of health ministers and officials of polio affected states in New Delhi on September 21.
Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss has called a meeting of health ministers and health secretaries of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Delhi, Uttaranchal, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana.
The meeting also comes in the backdrop of United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan reportedly writing to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressing concern over the increase in polio cases in the country.
A total of 297 cases were reported till September 15 as against a total of 66 cases reported in 2005.
Uttar Pradesh presented an alarming picture with a total of 269 cases with Moradabad district reporting as many as 56 cases in 2006.
Other western UP districts like Muzaffarnagar has reported 25 cases, Badaun and Meerut accounted for 24 cases each, Bijnor (23), Ramput (21), JP Nagar (19), Bareilly (13), Ghaziabad (11), Aligarh and Bulandshahar (6 each) among others.
"The state government has not been able to implement the programme properly. It is failure on the part of the district administration. Everything is provided by the central government," sources in the Union Health Ministry said.
Of the 269 cases in Uttar Pradesh, as many as 101 cases have been reported in July 2006. While 34 cases were reported in May, June saw a spurt with 74 cases and August 36 cases.
Observing that Uttar Pradesh was "dragging" the pulse polio programme which created a "fatique" among the activists, the sources said that there might be some children left out.
"Question is reaching children and vaccinating them. Where we missed some children, there is a case," they said.
Apart from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar has reported 17 cases so far followed by Haryana five, one each in Jharkhand, Uttaranchal, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh and Chandigarh.
"Investigation of strains of the polio virus and their genetic sequencing carried out in the African countries of Congo and Mozambique has revealed that they are of Indian origin," Buren Bayar, the UNICEF Polio Coordinator for Uttar Pradesh had said in Lucknow recently.
Bayar was, however, optimistic about the eradication of polio from the country but stressed the need to reach out to every child.