Think Beyond Polio Eradication

While it is important to take steps to eradicate polio from conflict ridden areas of globe, it is also important that we think beyond polio, and look for other diseases which have taken heavy toll of life on children around the world.
GK Photo
GK Photo

Every year Pulse Polio Immunization (PPI) programme is  kicked off on the eve of the National Immunization Day which is being observed on 28th January. This year more than 170 million children are expected to be immunized by polio drops with the aim to eradicate polio from India. Although India has been successful to eradicate the polio from the nook and corner of country, there is still chance that this disease may reemerge until it is eradicated globally. As is also rightly said by Mr J. P. Nadda (Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare) that India need to keep vigil and precautionary surveillance in order keep polio at bay. The situation of polio is not same in the neighboring countries like Pakistan and Afghanistan.

If we look in a broader perspective, polio virus has been wiped out from major portion of Pakistan (Polio Global Eradication Initiative), however, there are few areas (like tribal area of Pakistan) which still shown high prevalence of polio. As per Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), there have been reports of 102 cases of wild poliovirus (WPV1) in 2014, whereas 16 cases of Circulating Vaccine-Derived Poliovirus type 2 (CVDPV2) have been reported up to recent time. There are also reports which are contradictory to the mechanism used in past for the polio eradication. So, world bodies need to ponder on this situation.

While it is important to take steps to eradicate polio from conflict ridden areas of globe, it is also important that we think beyond polio, and look for other diseases which have taken heavy toll of life on children around the world. Gostin (2014) impressed for better global governance that can change the health scenario across the world. It has been also stressed that quick action needs to be taken on nutrition, pollution and the environment to have control on diseases like diabetes and cancer, and such an endeavor will be also useful for disease eradication in children.

Indian sub-continent is faced by multiple of diseases which have taken a heavy toll of children. More importantly, there is dire need to focus on India as it is the most populated country in the region. There are 4-5 diseases apart from Polio which are of great concern for health workers in India.

It is also important that stakeholders should take steady steps to combat Polio as it cannot be wiped out in few decades. Efficacy of a single drug against different variants of Polio virus has been questioned. According to El-Sayed and his co-workers (2008), vaccine that is effective against single strain of polio has been shown to be more effect than a vaccine which is used for variety of strains. Even there is different argument regarding the dosage of polio vaccines. Recent report from WHO shows that double dosage is more effect against this disease in conflict prone zone. Now twin questions arise. Firstly, what has research shown about the effect of double dosage on the overall health of children and secondly why huge finding has been spent without taking these things into consideration. So, there is need to have a different strategy to counter the Polio menace.

It is important that world body (WHO) rethinks about their eradication programmes. Knowing the fact that there is paucity of funds for taking any eradication initiative, it is important to use four tire mechanism:

Firstly, eradication programmes should be started with the aim of eradicating those diseases which are of major concern without focusing on specific belts or regions.

Secondly, world agencies need to keep watch on new emerging disease which can be more fatal to children than traditional diseases

Thirdly, there should be international supervision to ascertain the output of research and utilization of funds at different region. Bogus reporting regarding the success of eradication programme can be avoided if world authorities would keep proper vigil.

If we initiate eradication in the above manner, then time will come when major diseases afflicting the children around the world will be wiped out.

Dr. Ummer Rashid Zargar works at Central University of Kashmir, Department of Zoology, Sonwar Campus

uzssummer2@gmail.com

Related Stories

No stories found.
Greater Kashmir
www.greaterkashmir.com