India progressing towards polio eradication: Azad

July 24th, 2009 - 7:13 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 24 (IANS) India has reported just 136 cases of polio so far this year and with fewer families opposing the immunisation drive, the country is progressing towards eradication of the disease, parliament was told Friday.
Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad in a written reply informed the Rajya Sabha that till July 17, only 136 children were found infected with the polio virus against 559 in the entire 2008. Of the number so far in 2009, 97 are from Uttar Pradesh and 34 from Bihar.

Delhi with three cases, and Rajasthan and Uttarakhand with one each are the other three states where polio cases have been detected this year.

“In order to remove the prejudices among communities against polio drops, efforts through mass media and inter-personal communication are being made by the polio partners in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar,” Azad said.

“The number of households overtly refusing oral polio vaccine is the lowest ever, and the resistance is now more sporadic and significantly less,” the minister said.

“In May 2009, less than 0.1 percent of the 3.3 crore households in Uttar Pradesh and less than 0.1 percent of the 1.59 crore households in Bihar refused vaccination,” he added.

Refusal by families to allow their children to be given the vaccine in parts of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh was blamed partially for the large number of cases in this part of country. Some people harbour a prejudice that polio drops can lead to impotency in children during adulthood.

India is one of the few countries that is still reporting polio cases in the world.

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