| Officials of the health department attend the seminar on polio eradication. Picture by Nagendra Kumar Singh |
Patna, July 29: Bihar is in the pink of health as far as polio is concerned. Since November 2009, the state has not reported a single polio case of type one (P1) virus.
“Keeping the past record in mind, it has been a great achievement. In the past 12 years, it is for the first time that not a single case of P1 virus has been reported during eight consecutive months,” said Sanjay Kumar, the executive director, state health society.
However, the disease has not been eradicated completely since six polio cases of type 3 virus — less dangerous compared to P1 — have been reported in January this year but since then no more cases have been reported, Kumar added.
Bihar and UP accounted for 97 per cent of the nation’s polio cases in 2009.
“There was no chance of being complacent as a huge task was ahead of us considering the beginning of peak transmission season — July, August, and September for polio,” Kumar added.
To reduce the risk of virus importation, efforts are being intensified at various transit points especially neighbouring Nepal and Bengal (Murshidabad district), where four and three cases of P1 virus were reported, respectively recently.
Polio vaccination is being carried out at Deoghar and other places during the Shrawani Mela where thousands are expected to congregate during the month-long festivities that started on July 25.
Efforts have also been stepped up in 41 high-risk blocks of Bihar and more resources have been deployed in the hard-to-reach Kosi river areas to ensure highest quality polio immunisation rounds.
In 2010, so far six polio cases as compared to 50 in the corresponding period of 2009, have been reported. Last year, the state reported 117 polio cases, down from 233 cases in 2008 and 503 cases in 2007.
When asked about the Comptroller and Auditor General of India’s (CAG) report that stated non-eradication of polio from the state, one of the doctors involved with the polio eradication programme, said that the report was prepared while sitting in a room.
The executive director, however, said that Comptroller and Auditor General of India was a constitutional arrangement and our job is not to raise fingers on Comptroller and Auditor General of India’s report.
Norbhay Nath Mishra, coordinator, Unicef, denied that 150 people involved in the eradication programme were retrenched, rather the number of people has gone up from 128 to 150 in Patna region.