The Pulse Polio Programme for 2019, was launched by the President of India, on the eve of National Immunisation Day, which is observed on the 10th of March.
Polio/Poliomyelitis or Infant Paralysis is a contagious disease caused by the poliovirus, whose effect on the spinal cord leads to the classic manifestation of paralysis. Poliomyelitis usually spreads from person to person through infected fecal matter entering the mouth through contaminated food and water.
Generally, two basic patterns of polio infection are:
- Minor illness which does not involve the central nervous system (CNS), sometimes called abortive poliomyelitis,
- A major illness involving the CNS, which may be paralytic or nonparalytic
Polio is a non-curable, highly communicable disease; therefore, prevention is the only option to combat the menace posed by this disease. India launched its Pulse Polio Immunization Program with Universal Immunization Program, which aimed at 100% coverage in 1995. India was declared polio free, by WHO in 2014.
There are two types of vaccine that protect against polio, Inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) and oral polio vaccine (OPV). IPV, is given as an injection in the leg or arm, depending on patient’s age. Polio vaccine may be given at the same time as other vaccines. Most people should get polio vaccine when they are children. Children get 4 doses of IPV, at these ages: 2 months, 4 months, 6-18 months, and booster dose at 4-6 years.
OPV consists of a mixture of live, attenuated (weakened) poliovirus strains of all three poliovirus types. Under the pulse polio immunization programme, all children below the age of 5 years are administered two doses of the oral polio vaccine per year.
According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, more than 17 crore children of less than five years across the country will be given polio drops as part of the drive of Government of India to sustain polio eradication from the country. The Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, J P Nadda said, “To provide additional protection to our children, Government has also introduced the injectable Inactivated Polio Vaccine into its routine immunization program,”