Pulse Polio is an immunisation campaign established by the government of India in 1995-96 to eradicate poliomyelitis (polio) in India by vaccinating all children under the age of five years against polio virus. This project deals with the ways to fight poliomyelitis through a large scale immunisation programme, co-operating with various international institutions, state governments and Non Governmental Organisations.
The discovery of three full-blown polio cases in the North 24 Parganas district belies district officials' claims of a 90% success rate in the state's pulse polio drive
West Bengal's polio eradication programme is in the doldrums with the state health ministry allegedly losing count of the number of under-five children. The government has also lost track of the population growth rate and the number of people within the productive age-group, health department sources claim. They say the state government has been sending faulty reports based on rudimentary information to the union health ministry.
Recently, three full-blown polio cases were discovered in the North 24 Parganas district, taking authorities completely by surprise. Interestingly, although district officials claim a 90% success rate in the state's pulse polio drive, they have no statistical proof of this. According to officials, health department directives for districts and area sub-centres to prepare a list of children under five in West Bengal has yielded no results, forcing them to rely on older data.
"The district health officials are required to complete the yearly headcount survey between January and March. But with (it nearing) October-end, the exercise is far from complete," said a senior health ministry official. He added: "The claims of success in the pulse polio drive may not be as true as they are claiming it to be."
In India, vaccination against Polio started in 1978 with Expanded Program in Immunisation (EPI). By 1984, it was successful in covering around 40% of all infants, giving 3 doses of OPV to each. In 1985, the Universal Immunisation Program (UIP) was launched to cover all the districts of the country. UIP became a part of child safe and survical motherland program (CSSM) in 1992 and Reproductive and Child Health Program (RCH) in 1997. This program led to a significant increase in coverage, up to 95%. The number of reported cases of polio also declined from 28,757 during 1987 to 3,265 in 1995.
In 1995, following the Polio Eradication Initiative of World Health Organization (1988), India launched Pulse Polio Immunisation Program along with Universal Immunisation Program which aimed at 100% coverage.