India begins nationwide Pulse Polio program

An estimated 17.4 million children in India will receive the injection or drops.
An estimated 17.4 million children in India will receive the injection or drops. | File photo

Indian President Shri Pranab Mukherjee recently initiated the Pulse Polio program for 2016, ensuring children under 5 years old will receive polio drops to protect them from the disease.

The program, which begins in time for National Immunization Day goal, is designed to maintain polio elimination from India. An estimated 17.4 million children under 5 will receive the drops at the Rahstrapati Bhawan.

“Polio-free status for five years is a treasure for all of us,” Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare Shri JP Nadda said. “India has been now validated for Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus elimination in May 2015, well before the global target date of December 2015. This is a monumental achievement in the country’s efforts to achieve universal health care and address health inequities.”

In addition to the program, India has added the injectable Inactivated Polio Vaccine to its regular vaccination program. Health care workers also added the oral polio vaccine.

“We are vigilant and that is the reason we are conducting continuous polio vaccination at the international borders with India,” Nadda said. “A travel advisory has also been issued as per [World Health Organization] guidelines to vaccinate all travelers who are travelling between India and eight other countries, namely Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Cameroon, Syria, Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya. Also, an Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan is in place under which Rapid Response Teams have been formed in all states/UTs to respond urgently to any importations of poliovirus.”

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