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Scrutiny
  
Re‘pulse’ polio...
Renewal of strategy is a must
30/11/2006

As the date of the global target for the eradication of polio nears, its renewed outbreak has set alarm bells ringing. With about 33% of the 1,449 reported cases in 2006, India is being considered as the largest stumbling block in mankind’s war against the disease. That number becomes scary as the number of cases had come down from a high of 1,600 in 2002 to 66 in 2005, before climbing to 297 by September 15 of this year. The virus remains heavily concentrated in states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and Haryana. Moreover, the ‘indigenous’ strains of the virus have now been reported in neighbouring countries like Nepal, Bangladesh & Bhutan, and the World Health Organisation has warned that India is fast appearing as the lead ‘exporter’ of the disease.

While resistance to accepting the polio vaccine (especially among the minorities and the poor underprivileged) and poor hygiene have been reasoned to be among the main causes for polio resurfacing, even the skewed unscientific bias against the IPV (Injectible Polio Vaccine) has been perplexing. An IPV plant set up under the public sector was closed down because of dubious allegations. A reported case of polio in a 10-year old vaccinated girl child (in Jehanabad, Bihar) further raised questions against IPV. But really, till a better alternative is found, IPV, and educating the public, remain India’s best bets against the dreaded disease.

By:- B&E
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