Polio war far from over, proves crippling evidence | india | Hindustan Times
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Polio war far from over, proves crippling evidence

WHEN IT seemed that battle against polio had been won, the disease returned with a vengeance crippling one dozen children. Previous year 29 cases were reported in the State. An elated Family Welfare Minister Ahmed Hasan had said that by the end of 2006 polio would be eradicated from Uttar Pradesh. But the plan of the Family Welfare Department to free UP from polio has gone haywire.

india Updated: Apr 04, 2006 01:32 IST

WHEN IT seemed that battle against polio had been won, the disease returned with a vengeance crippling one dozen children.

Previous year 29 cases were reported in the State. An elated Family Welfare Minister Ahmed Hasan had said that by the end of 2006 polio would be eradicated from Uttar Pradesh. But the plan of the Family Welfare Department to free UP from polio has gone haywire.

Within two months, 12 polio cases have been reported in six districts including Moradabad (6), Bulandshahr (1), Farrukhabad (1), Badaun (2), Bareilly (1) and Pilibhit (1).

Though the Family Welfare Department is gearing up for the immunization drive to be held on April 9, the officials are worried as more cases might be reported after the survey for March was over.

Though immunization drives have been organized regularly since 1995, even then fresh polio cases are being reported.

Where did the drive against polio go wrong?

The report dispatched by the polio surveillance officers blows the lid from over the irregularities committed in the immunization programme. Out of the 12 polio victims, 8 have not been administrated vaccine.

Even the children who were administered vaccine dozen times have been infected with polio. When queried, the officials accepted that vaccine was not stored according to the norms prescribed by the World Health Organisation.

In some cases even expired drug was administered to the children. Recently, the Health Department has suspended the in-charge of immunization posted at Hapur for dereliction in duty.

During inquiry it was found that expired drug was supplied to the vaccinators deputed in the programme.

Though the Family Welfare Department officials claim that members of the Muslim community have been convinced and there was no resistance on their part to vaccination, however the Health Department data tells a different picture. Sixty-seven per cent of the victims belong are Muslims.

The State Government has set the target to immunize 4 crore children in each immunization programme. But ten per cent children were not immunized during the previous drive. The resistance from the members of Muslim community still continues official said.

The State Government spends Rs 12 crore on each immunization drive. Still polio control remains a distant dream.

Outgoing chief secretary R Ramni on Monday said strict action would be taken against erring officers. He addressed divisional commissioners, district magistrates and chief medical officers through video-conferencing and directed them to take measures to check the spread of polio.