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HOW CAN POLIO BE ERADICATED? WHY HAS THE POLIO RESURFACED?

In 1988, Global Polio Eradication Initiative was launched by the government for the eradication of poliovirus

HOW CAN POLIO BE ERADICATED? WHY HAS THE POLIO RESURFACED?

Through decades of efforts taken by national and international immunization programs, poliovirus has been largely contained under control. In 1988, Global Polio Eradication Initiative was launched by the government for the eradication of poliovirus. Above 2.5 billion children got vaccinated against the polio virus. Except for three countries, poliovirus got eradicated in almost all over the world.

THE BACKGROUND

World Health Organisation, Rotary Foundation and UNICEF took initiative in 1988 for eliminating the polio virus completely. The number of polio infected cases has reduced from thousands to mere 37 in 2016. However, there is still the need for complete eradication.

The mutated vaccine strains are also responsible for causing polio. Smallpox and rinderpest have already been completely eradicated in the past. Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan are the only three countries where poliovirus can be seen.

For completely eradicating the polio virus, there is a need for more efforts. Even though polio has been reduced by almost 99.9%, there is still that 0.01% that needs to be dealt with. The world is at a constant changing pace and the diseases tend to take hold of the immune system and mutate into more new viruses. Complete eradication of poliovirus has become the need of the hour.

ERADICATION OF POLIO

Eradication of polio can be achieved by taking several strategic measures. There needs to be a routine immunization completely along with having immunization campaigns for awareness and control purposes. There also needs to be a proper surveillance for any possible future outbreak.

World Health Organisation has outlined certain steps for eradication of polio. Within the first year, the child needs to have four oral doses of polio vaccine along with routine immunization with IPV or OPV. For the children who are below five years of age, there need to be national immunization days where they can have free oral polio vaccine doses.

Since acute flaccid paralysis is a symptom of poliovirus, there needs to be a complete surveillance and database made for people suffering from it. The data was being used to check for polio. There need to be active campaigns that survey the problematic areas and provide vaccination.

Most importantly, for complete eradication of polio, people need to be aware of the vaccines and get vaccinated. The vaccines ought to be in the reach of the people. A country is considered to be polio-free if not cases of polio get registered in a year.