Alarmed at the increasing reports of polio cases from the city and the districts, the state government has formed an expert committee, comprising health department staff and doctors, to monitor the pulse polio programme, starting April 6.
The expert committee has been formed in the wake of allegations by Calcutta Municipal Corporation’s (CMC) officer on special duty Atanu Mukherjee that “untrained persons” were usually engaged to administer polio vaccine drops to children.
“Political leaders ensure that people close to them are engaged for the pulse polio programme. These people are untrained. They have neither the slightest idea about administering the vaccine, nor do they check the vials, which is very important,” claimed Mukherjee. A participant of a pulse polio programme earns at least Rs 40-50 a day.
“I have discussed the matter with the municipal commissioner a couple of days ago. Things will, hopefully, be different this time,” Mukherjee added.
On Sunday, CMC commissioner Debasis Som said: “It is impossible to complete a mass movement like polio eradication without volunteers, since we have only a handful of health workers. I will meet civic officials shortly to discuss the issue and try to train all the workers.”
The Bengal branch of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has also started preparations for the polio eradication programme. “Family welfare officer Satyaman Ghosh suggested that IMA doctor-members participate in the programme,” said IMA Bengal branch secretary Moloy Patra.
The IMA plans to depute two doctors in each ward in the city and district booths to oversee the pulse polio programmes on April 6 and June 1. “We will also distribute leaflets as part of an awareness drive,” Patra added.