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Congrats India for remaining
without reporting of any confirmed polio cases for one long year. This is
indeed a mammoth achievement in the history of polio eradication in India.
India’s success should not be
doubted because of the strong AFP (Acute Flaccid Paralysis) surveillance system
that the country has been able to establish for years. It is very unlikely to
miss a single AFP or polio case now due to a surveillance network that each and
every public health professional of India should feel proud of.
But ‘no polio case for a year’
doesn’t indicate we, as a country has acquired the much-awaited ‘polio-free’
status. A couple of more years with no
polio cases will definitely justify our eligibility for the polio-free
certification. But the next two years, will definitely demand the highest level
politico-administrative commitment and the maximum operational level hard-work to
ensure the polio virus no more exits in the environment of the country.
One of the most important aspects
of the final phase of polio eradication should be making all-round efforts to
strengthen Routine Immunization coverage, especially in the traditional polio-reservoirs
of the country like UP and Bihar together with high quality supplementary
immunization rounds (Pulse Polio).
Getting over the polio-fatigue is
one of the most challenging jobs at the field operation; especially to keep the
front line workers on their toes in each and every future Pulse Polio round is
really tough in a war spanning for more than 18 years.The motivational communication should
categorically include high level appreciation to push the polio virus in the
corner followed by the ardent appeal to erase it from every nook and corner of
the country in the next couple of years.
strongly feel the frontline workers should be also given a much better
remuneration now to extract the best possible services from them in the ground
during the final assault against polio.
Cross-border surveillance and
immunization should be collaborated with the neighbouring countries. This is
one of the key areas that must be given all due importance and attention. There
are instances where polio hit back an already polio-free country being exported
from the neighbours.
Continuing advocacy with the
neighbouring nations for concomitantly maintaining high quality immunization
activities within their territories is equally critical to prevent any polio spillage
across the borders that might put water to all the eradication initiative and
achievements made so far.
If we can’t take precautions from
all possible angles the victory over polio might be further delayed.
After all it is also the matter
of survival for the virus so winning never remains an easy process.