Polio campaign in West Bengal starts Sunday
The West Bengal government is ready to launch the week-long Sub-National Immunization Day (SNID) polio campaign in West Bengal beginning September 9 (Sunday).
Chandrima Bhattacharya, Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, on Friday reiterated the government's commitment to ensure a polio-free status through a number of initiatives, including engaging medical practioners, to ensure every child is protected with polio vaccine.
Today, West Bengal has no reported case of polio, down from 49 cases in 2002.
The country has reported no wild polio virus case for 206 days.
"India is off the polio endemic list, but the risk of the virus coming back to the country persists among children who are missed in the polio campaigns," said Bhattacharya.
"The risk is high in West Bengal as we continue to report missed children from a number of places such as Maheshtala, Magrahat, Kulpi, Mandirbazar of South 24 Parganas, Borough XV of Kolkata Municipal Corporation, Unsani of Howrah Municipal Corporation, Domjur, Uluberia Municipality, Sankrail, Panchla, Uluberia I and II Blocks of Howrah, Kaliachak Blocks and Englishbazar Municipality of Malda district," the minister said.
Between 2008 and 2012, West Bengal recorded 17 per cent increase in vaccinating children at transit points such as railway stations and bus terminals.
The quality of the SNID rounds have significantly improved by 50 per cent with fewer households reporting False P cases (reduction from 3.19 per cent in 2008 to 1.66 per cent in 2012).
The percentage of missed children also reduced from 6.7 per cent in 2008 to 4.6 per cent in 2012.
The detection of Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP) has become more sophisticated so that even a very low level of wild polio virus transmission is detected.
The total number of AFP cases reported in West Bengal increased from 1853 cases in 2008 to 2098 cases in 2012.
Like in the April round, Bhattacharya is sending letters to all resistant families with an appeal to them to protect their children against polio.
"I specially appeal to those parents who refuse polio vaccination out of unfounded fear," said Bhattacharya.
"Do not put your children and others at risk of polio, which paralyses for life and has no cure. Immunize your children. The polio vaccine is safe and has helped prevent polio paralysis in millions of children," she added.
The health department has drawn up an intense action plan for the coming round focusing on the areas where children are being missed.
Additional officials and medical officers are being deployed and all concerned authorities have been mobilized to ensure that no child is deprived of polio vaccine.
Junior doctors from AYUSH department, 975 homeopathic doctors and over 40 Indian Medical Association representatives will help in the polio vaccination drive.
A meeting of Mayors/Chairpersons and Urban Affairs Department representatives on 28 August deliberated on efforts to mobilize urban bodies for a good quality round.
For the first time, 25 inter-city buses with messages on polio immunization will also ply between Kolkata and the highest risk areas this month.
The initiative supported by UNICEF, is part of intensified efforts to spread awareness and mobilize community for polio immunization. Since 2010, deployment of field volunteers for social mobilization activities in the community increased from 450 to nearly 1600 in early 2012.
In addition, social mobilization in high risk areas also increased from two districts to seven districts in the state.
The September 9 round will cover over 45 lakh children in 11 districts of the state.
As many as 19,535 booths including 1,477 transit booths will be set up and over 37,000 house-to-house vaccination teams would visit around 1,08,06,064 households during the week-long polio immunization campaign.