ERADICATING POLIO THROUGH PULSE POLIO IMMUNIZATION PROGRAMME
When an individual susceptible to exposure of infection gets the disease, one of the following may occur:
This disease affects mainly children who are vulnerable to the infection of polio by spreading from one child to another. If one child carries the germs of this disease, then he may also transfer this disease to another child. It spreads in unhygienic conditions, and is therefore likely to effect (a) people living in unsanitary conditions, and (b) children who are weak, or are suffering from malnutrition or have low body resistance. There is no sure and effective cure for polio, therefore the only strategy can be to eradicate it completely.
Until now vaccination was done to individual child, as and when the parents brought the child for vaccination. But this was clearly ineffective. In the year 1990, for example, 10,400 children got infected by the polio virus, (G.o.I. Annual Report, Health and Family Welfare). Year round routine immunization programme is bound to have low success in country like India with high population density, and poor sanitation.
The strategy which is now being promoted by the WHO and the Indian government, has the following salient features:
Simultaneous administration of vaccine;
Oral administration of the vaccine;
Covering 100% children below 3 years of age.
When all the children are given the
vaccine at the same time, the polio virus which is normally active in the
intestine of the children, are replaced by the non-disease causing harmless
virus in the vaccine. If almost all the children are freed from the virus
at any given time, then this disease can not survive because this virus
cannot live outside the human body for long.
Oral vaccination is best suited for ending this crippling disease because (a) it is easy to administer, (b) it is cheap, (c) it then reaches the intestine directly and prevents the multiplication of disease causing polio virus, and (d) when the vaccine gets flushed out of the child with the stool, it may spread to other children also, who may not have been immunized. Strategies for polio eradication in India:
If public interest and enthusiasm for
this programme can be sustained, then it will not be long before this disease