Poliomyelitis, commonly known as polio, is a viral infection that can lead to breathing problems, paralysis or even death and it is a highly contagious infection.
Polio is caused by poliovirus. The virus is known to usually spread through the fecal-oral route in the areas with poor sanitation, direct contact with the person infected and also via contaminated food or water.
One of the countries eradicating polio is India. It has been recorded that in 1978 India has one of the largest number of polio-infected patients. Thus, the programme polio pulse was formed.
Pulse polio or Pulse Polio Immunization (PPI) is an immunisation campaign launched by the government of India in 1995 to fight poliomyelitis. This campaign records the measures in dealing and fighting polio through a massive immunization programme by India’s government, with the help of international agencies, and non-government or voluntary organizations.
Pulse Polio Immunization aims to annually vaccinate all children under the age of five years against polio virus. Every child gets a dose of Oral Polio Vaccine twice each year.
Oral Polio Vaccine is a live attenuated virus which is known as the protectorate of the gastrointestinal tract. This virus restrains the deadly disease-causing poliovirus. Not only does this prevent the destructive infection in the affected person, it also makes it impossible for the transmission of the wild poliovirus to another host.
India against Polio
In India, vaccination against polio was initiated in 1978 under Expanded Programme on Immunization and by 1984; around 40% of all infants were given with 3 doses of Oral Polio Vaccine.
In 1985, Universal Immunization Programme (UIP) was introduced and implemented to cover all the districts in India. Since it’s launched, this led to a significant increase in the coverage of those who were given doses of oral polio vaccine and as a result it decreased the number of infected individuals.
In 1995, when Pulse Polio was launched it aimed at 100% coverage and to totally diminish polio infection in the country. Aside from ensuring that they reach the 100% coverage, some of the programme’s objectives are as follows:
Maintain a high level of surveillanceAll children must be immunized, leaving no chance of polio incidencesIndia must be polio-free by the year 2005
Pulse polio campaign proved to be a success, incidence of polio in India has dramatically decreased. India has recorded 4,791 cases in 1994; in 1997 almost half of 4,791 incidences has been dropped; 1,600 in 2002; 225 in 2003; and in 2004, cases of polio dramatically decreased at 135 recorded incidences.
Just like any other diseases, sanitation, good hygiene, and immunization are the keys to prevent highly communicable virus-causing disease like polio.
Environmental sanitation awareness has to be known to all as this is one simple step in the maintaining a polio-free community.
Polio vaccinations are highly recommended in anyone who is not vaccinated yet; especially those travelling to places where polio is endemic or widespread, those living with someone infected with polio, those people working in a laboratory where live poliovirus is kept.
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