NEW DELHI, Jan 28:
Even though India has been declared polio-free by WHO on March 27, 2014, the risk of importation still persists from remaining three countries where poliovirus is still circulating — Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria–, due to which the country needs to maintain the population immunity and sensitive surveillance till global polio eradication happens.
”We are conducting continuous polio vaccination at the international borders. A travel advisory has also been issued to vaccinate all travellers who are travelling between India and eight other countries. Also, an Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan (EPRP) is in place under which Rapid Response Teams (RRT) have been formed in all states/UTs to respond urgently to any importations of poliovirus,” Health & Family Welfare Minister JP Nadda said today.
To provide double protection to the children, the Centre has also introduced the injectable Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) into its routine immunisation programme.
Mr Nadda was speaking at the launch of Pulse Polio programme for 2017 by President Pranab Mukherjee administering polio drops to children less than five years old, at Rashtrapati Bhawan here, in the presence of Ministers of State (Health) Faggan Singh Kulaste and Ms Anupriya Patel.
Tomorrow is National Immunisation Day where an estimated 17 crore children below five years across the country will be given polio drops as part of the Government’s drive to bolster polio eradication from the country. For population immunity and sensitive surveillance till global polio is eradicated, India has been maintaining through National and Sub National Polio rounds along with sustained high quality polio surveillance.
Mr Nadda pointed out that India has reduced under-5 mortality rate from 75 per 1000 live births in 2005 to 45 per 1000 in 2014 as per recent SRS estimates. Noting that immunisation is one of the key interventions in reducing child deaths in country, he said to expand the scope of immunisation in country, Rotavirus virus vaccine has been introduced as part of the UIP last year.
The Ministry will soon introduce Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine that will help to reduce the burden of diarrhea, pneumonia and meningitis, and a countrywide campaign with Measles-Rubella vaccine in phased manner.
He said the innovative initiative of the Government, Mission Indradhanush, launched in 2014 ”has strengthened our immunisation coverage and ensured that all vaccines reach our targeted beneficiaries even in remotest areas.”
The Minister applauded the efforts of the thousands of volunteers, frontline workers, health officials across the states and development partners for their tireless efforts in keeping the country polio-free. Present at the function were CK Mishra, Secretary (HFW), senior officers of the Ministry and representatives of development partners, an official statement here said. (UNI)