The Coimbatore Corporation began on Saturday a special drive to immunise children of migrant workers against polio. The government had ordered the drive as migrant workers’ children missed getting covered in the regular Pulse Polio Immunisation Programme for children in the 0-5 age group.

The Corporation’s health department has drawn up an elaborate plan to cover 473 children of migrant workers. While the first phase was carried out on Saturday, the next one will be on December 13.

Mayor R. Venkatachalam, Corporation Commissioner Anshul Mishra and Deputy Mayor N. Karthik launched the drive at the Corporation’s school at Sanganur. Assistant City Health Officer R. Sumathi, Health Committee Chairman P. Nachimuthu, councillors and officials of the civic body were present.

The State Government had ordered the drive in order to check the spread of the wild polio virus and administer polio drops to children from other States where the coverage had not been complete.

The Corporation said the migrant workers were from northern States such as Rajasthan, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, and also from other districts in the State.

On the first day of the immunisation here, the Corporation found that a child of a migrant worker couple from Uthangarai in Dharmapuri district had not been immunised even six months after birth.

The Corporation health teams would go to the colonies where these children lived, in order to ensure 100 per cent immunisation.

The Corporation had identified 406 slum colonies as high-risk areas and established 63 booths. Nine areas on the border of the city have 19 booths.

More than 230 Corporation staff, 263 staff under the Integrated Child Development project, 107 nursing course students and 175 other staff members from various wings had been involved in the immunisation process.

Even if some children missed out on the two-day drive, the Corporation would continue the immunisation for a week in the identified colonies, Dr. Sumathi said.

An intensive survey and enumeration had been carried out before the immunisation by the medical officers and their teams, Dr. Sumathi said.

“For instance, Medical Officer R. Pareena of Ganapathy Urban Health Post has enumerated 195 children in Ganapathy alone (out of the total target of 473),” she said.

As for the routine immunisation carried out every year, the Corporation planned to motivate parents who visited the out-patient wings of the civic body’s clinics.

These would include ante-natal and post-natal mothers. Self-help groups were being involved in persuading women to have their children immunised.

Non-Governmental organisations were also being roped in for sensitisation and improvement of coverage.

Awareness would be generated through school students, especially during prayer sessions in their institutions and the school health camps.

A sustained sensitisation drive in the slums would be another measure towards achieving total coverage. New colonies or extended areas of the city would be monitored for new cases of children who need to be immunised.

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