78,824 children to be administered vaccine

The Health Department has made elaborate arrangements for the Pulse Polio immunisation programme to be held on February 19 and April 1.

Addressing a press conference here on Friday, District Collector P. Venugopal said the programme was aimed at polio eradication by administering the vaccine to all children below five years of age on the same day.

Mr. Venugopal said the Pulse Polio programme had assumed much relevance in the wake of the World Health Organisation's decision to declare India a polio-free country this year.

Though no case of polio has been reported from any part of the State in recent years, there were reports of polio cases from certain North Indian States, leaving chances of the wild virus spreading to Kerala too through the floating population.

The government has been organising Pulse Polio immunisation programme in the backdrop of this risk factor, he said.

Mr. Venugopal said as many as 78,824 children in the district would be administered polio vaccine on these two days. He said a total of 1038 pulse polio booths would be set up in different parts of the district for the smooth conduct of the immunisation programme.

The Collector said the booths would be opened at various primary health centres, sub-centres, Anganwadis, and schools, besides major bus stations, Thiruvalla railway station, and various other public places in different parts of the district.

The booths will be kept open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on these two days (February 19 and April 1) and as many as 2,076 volunteers will be deployed for the immunisation drive.

A team of volunteers have already reached Gavi in the eastern forest tracts of the district to set up the Pulse Polio immunisation booth, Mr. Venugopal said.

K. Sivadasan Nair, MLA, will inaugurate the programme at an official function to be held at the General Hospital in Pathanamthitta on Sunday morning. district panchayat president Babu George and the Collector will attend the function.