Thanks to awareness campaigns, 3.34 lakh children covered on day one

Thanks to a concerted awareness campaign in urban areas regarding the safety of polio vaccine, the coverage during the first phase of this year’s Pulse Polio Immunisation programme recorded a considerable increase in Coimbatore district.

Last year, the coverage on day one of the campaign was around 95 per cent. This year, the coverage rose to 98.56 per cent despite the target group of children below the age of five years having gone up by over 22,000 over the past year, Deputy Director of Health Services R. Damodharan told The Hindu on Monday.

Target

This year’s coverage target stood at 3.39 lakh children with 3.34 lakh covered on day one. This included 1.94 lakh children in rural areas and 1.40 lakh in urban areas. Left-out children were being covered in a door-to-door campaign underway on Tuesday and Wednesday by village health nurses. Last year, he said that of the 3.17 lakh children targeted, 3.03 lakh were covered on day one.

A significant aspect was that the coverage through transit booths, which were established at the railway junction and bus stands, more than doubled this year even though their number – at 26 - remained the same as last year.

“We have achieved this increase in urban areas mainly due to the awareness campaign focussing on safeguards such as ‘Vaccine Vial Monitors’ that enabled anyone to ascertain for themselves the efficacy of the vaccine. Many parents at Peelamedu and Singanallur insisted on viewing the monitors before administering the vaccine to their children.”

Dr. Damodharan said that the ‘Vaccine Vial Monitor’ was a thermo-sensitive paper containing a white square inside a blue circle that would reflect the temperature of the vaccine which was susceptible to heat variations.

Further, a district-level Adverse Events Following Immunisation (AEFI) team comprising a general physician and a paediatrician was also established in the city and provided with a hotline to immediately investigate any untoward events. However, no complaints were received.

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