Polio Defeated, Odisha Now Targets Measles - The New Indian Express

Polio Defeated, Odisha Now Targets Measles

Published: 14th January 2014 11:13 AM

Last Updated: 14th January 2014 11:13 AM

Even as India rejoices on reaching the Polio Free nation status on Monday, Odisha moves on to next task of checkmating other vaccine preventable diseases, having conquered polio since around five and half years.

Eradication of measles has now become the focus area for public health interventions under immunisation campaign in the State though surveillance activities and mop-up immunisation drives to prevent return of the wild polio virus (WPV) will be continued aggressively.

Measles, the highly contagious viral disease, still accounts for large number of deaths in children in the State. According to the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) report, in 2013, there were around 12 measles outbreaks in the State, claiming one life of 328 cases. In 2012, around 14 outbreaks were reported resulting in five deaths. Districts of Ganjam, Deogarh, Raygada, Keonjhar, Balasore, Dhenkanal, Kendrapara and Bargarh have been identified as high risk regions requiring more directed attention and interventions.

“The next big goal before us is to achieve total measles eradication within 2015. We have already reoriented the immunisation programme to include two doses of measles vaccination against the earlier practice of one dose. There has been a significant decline in the number of outbreaks, thanks to increased immunisation coverage but total eradication within next one year is the target,” Director, Family Welfare Dr B Das Mohapatra said.

While the country achieved the WHO-mandated milestone of not reporting any polio case from any part for the past three years, in Odisha the last polio case was detected in July 2008 with a 13-year-old girl afflicted by the paralytic manifestation at Bhojpura village of Bargarh district.

Leaving nothing to chance, the State Health Department is set to launch a pulse polio campaign from January 19 to 21 with the target of immunising 46 lakh children under the age of five. As many as 18,764 booths would be set up and 75,056 workers engaged in the campaign. Around 58 blocks have been classified high risk where the campaign would be vigorous.To achieve total coverage and not leaving out children in transit, the Department has formed around 819 transit teams who will move in buses, trains and posted at stations and bus stands to administer oral polio drops.

Meanwhile, as the official declaration of India as Polio Free nation by WHO is expected by February, Odisha has also completed containment of WPV samples in laboratory settings, Das Mohapatra said.

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