Fear of polio still haunting millions in Bihar

December 22nd, 2008 - 7:28 pm ICT by IANS  

Patna, Dec 22 (IANS) The fear of their children catching deadly polio is still haunting millions of parents across Bihar, and they who are striving to ensure their children are administered the polio vaccine as quickly as possible.Hushnara Bano and Savita Devi were among the hundreds of young mothers who requested volunteers Monday morning to administer the polio drop to their children to rid them of tension of the possible threat of disease.

“My first concern was to have the vaccine administered to my child. It is duty of every mother to protect her child from polio as the disease is still raging across the state,” said Savita, a resident of Motha village near Arwal town, about 100 km from here.

Hushnara, who has three children, said she was frightened after a neighbour’s child was detected to be suffering from polio.

“I take care not to miss polio immunisation drive,” said Hushnara, a resident of a village in Purnia district, about 350 km from here.

The battle against polio is far from over in Bihar, which has recorded the second highest incidence of the disease in India in 2008 after neighbouring Uttar Pradesh.

Official sources in the health department said Monday that Bihar has recorded 230 new polio cases till third week of Dec 2008, one of the highest since the polio immunisation drive was launched in the state nearly a decade ago.

Bihar recorded 158 polio cases in 1998 when the polio immunisation drive started, and subsequently 123 in 1999, 49 in 2000, 22 in 2001, 121 in 2002, 18 in 2003, 39 in 2004, 30 in 2005, 61 in 2006 and 193 cases (36 P1 and 178 P3) in 2007.

India is one of the four countries in the world where polio is endemic. According to the Global Polio Eradication Imitative, Nigeria reported 728 polio cases this year, with India at second place, followed by Pakistan (81) and Afghanistan (22).

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