Polio poser

Increased incidence of disease in UP raises questions about effectiveness of prevention plan

Published: Tuesday 15 October 2002

the recent upsurge of polio in Uttar Pradesh has once again accentuated the failure of its eradication programme in the country. Out of 370 new cases detected this year, 313 have occurred in up alone. Experts say that the situation is worse this year as compared to 2001. While 28 districts of up were affected last year, 47 districts in the state are already reeling under the impact of the scourge this time over.

The grave situation in up has forced authorities to review the eradication programme. From misconceptions about the vaccine to an epidemic cycle every five years, officials are citing various factors to explain away the recent outbreak and the subsequent collapse of the plan.

"People in these regions have many misconceptions such as the vaccine being developed using monkey cells and causing aids. T his prevents them from getting their children vaccinated," says S Sarkar, assistant commissioner, Union ministry of health and family welfare. After studying the epidemiological data, officials at a meeting to review the situation concluded that the cyclic occurrence of the epidemic is emerging in up every five years. But not many are convinced by the findings.

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