Sunday March 18, 2018

India achieves five polio free years


New Delhi: This last Wednesday India completed five years of being Polio free. Polio in the 90s was the biggest disease in India affecting as many as 50000 children a year.

The last reported case in India was Howrah District in West Bengal on January 13 five years ago. While, the last case in Delhi was in June 2009.

India has achieved a remarkable result as in 2009, the country had half of the share of polio cases existing in the world.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the country polio-free after it completed the mandatory period of three years without a single case being reported.

India’s neighbors like Pakistan, Afghanistan and other sub-continent countries are still fighting the battles against this disease which is why India cannot be complacent on the basis of this remarkable achievement.

The only case came close was last year when a two-year-old girl in Delhi was diagnosed with rare P2 stain virus. But doctors said there were one in million possibilities that this virus could turn into a complete polio case. Still India along with oral vaccine introduced injectable inactivated polio vaccine(IPV). The IPV vaccine makes it impossible to contract vaccine derived polio-like what happened with 2-year-old Delhi girl.

This is an example that with a set strategy and focus, any goal can be achieved. With the same intensity, India can get the favorable results in other public health sector.

India has a huge population and a breaking of any epidemic always has much bigger impact than what it can have in other nations. A large portion of this population does not even have the access to the basic medical facilities and living conditions. It means they are more likely to catch a disease and then they do not have the resources to counter that.

Take Dengue for example. Every season it affects thousands of people in the capital only and somehow there has been no way to stop this. It happens every year and then all our system does is the damage control.

If the approach followed in the eradication of polio, is used to counter other diseases as well, it will be a lot beneficial to the society.

Indian government deserves credit for the work done in making the country polio-free but more is expected in the public health sector.

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2016 NewsGram

Next Story

Pentavalent vaccine: Doctors raise red flag

In spite of the data presented in this paper from a large cohort, the authors point out that the evidence is merely circumstantial and not conclusive

the new Hepatitis B vaccine for adults is called Heplisav-B.
India's PV to be reexamined because of its harmful effects. .
  • Pentavalent vaccine was introduced in India six years ago
  • It is since then have been a cause of many deaths
  • Doctors want it to be reexamined before continuing its use

Pentavalent vaccine (PV), that was introduced by India a little over six years ago, doubled the deaths of children soon after vaccination compared to the DPT (Diphtheria-Pertussis-Tetanus) vaccine, according to a new study that calls for a “rigorous review of the deaths following vaccination with PV”.

Health officials have launched a campaign targeting nearly 24 million people with a one-fifth dose of the vaccine. Wikimedia Commons
PV has been cause of many deaths in past years. Wikimedia Commons

Government records show that there were 10,612 deaths following vaccination (both PV and DPT) in the last 10 years. There was a huge increase in these numbers in 2017, which the Health Ministry has promised to study. “The present analysis could be a starting point in the quest to reduce the numbers of such deaths,” authors of the new study say.

The study by Dr Jacob Puliyel, Head of Pediatrics at St Stephens Hospital, and Dr V. Sreenivas, Professor of Biostatistics at the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), both in New Delhi, is published in the peer-reviewed Medical Journal of Dr D.Y. Patil University.

PV is a combination of the DPT vaccine and two more vaccines against Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) and hepatitis B. Starting December 2011, PV was introduced into India’s immunisation programme to replace DPT vaccine in a staged manner with a view to adding protection against Hib and Hepatitis B without increasing the number of injections given to infants.

Doctors have raised concerns over these vaccines. Wikimedia Commons
Doctors have raised concerns over these vaccines. Wikimedia Commons

But sporadic reports of unexplained deaths following immunisation with PV had been a matter of concern. Puliyel, Sreenivas and their colleagues undertook the study to find out if these deaths were merely coincidental or vaccine-induced.

The authors obtained data of all deaths reported from April 2012 to May 2016 under the Right to Information Act. Data on deaths within 72 hours of administering DPT and PV from different states were used.

For their study, the authors assumed that all deaths within 72 hours of receiving DPT are natural deaths. Using this figure as the baseline, they presumed that any increase in the number of deaths above this baseline among children receiving PV must be caused by this vaccine.

Also Read: With Medicine Running Out, Venezuelans With Transplant Live in Fear

According to their analysis of the data provided by the government, there were 237 deaths within 72 hours of administering the Pentavalent vaccine — twice the death rate among infants who received DPT vaccine.

Extrapolating the data, the authors have estimated that vaccination of 26 million children each year in India would result in 122 additional deaths within 72 hours, due to the switch from DPT to PV.

“There is likely to be 7,020 to 8,190 deaths from PV each year if data from states with the better reporting, namely Manipur and Chandigarh, are projected nationwide,” their report says.

It is important to make sure that these vaccines are reexamined peroperly. VOA

The authors note that while the study looks at the short-term increase in deaths (within three days of vaccination) it does not calculate the potential benefits of PV on infant mortality, for example by protection against lethal diseases like Haemophilus influenza.

In spite of the data presented in this paper from a large cohort, the authors point out that the evidence is merely circumstantial and not conclusive. “These findings of differential death rates between DPT and PV do call for further rigorous prospective population-based investigations,” the study concludes. IANS