Random inspection carried out at Chennai, Kanyakumari as part of nationwide exercise

A high-level team from the World Health Organisation (WHO) has completed its assessment of polio eradication in Tamil Nadu after evaluating the surveillance, immunisation and reporting system in place across the State.

This assessment was carried out randomly as a part of the nationwide exercise since India is gearing up to receive polio-free certification from the WHO in January 2014.

The visiting team had chosen two districts – Chennai and Kanyakumari – and a comprehensive evaluation was done by meeting paediatricians and staff at laboratories, private and Government hospitals, primary health centres and urban health posts.

Top officials in the Directorate of Public Health told The Hindu on Sunday that the assessment team was of the view that Tamil Nadu had been complying with the polio eradication norms in a manner that exceeded what was actually required.

“The recent inspection was done randomly, and the WHO experts perused all records pertaining to polio immunisation for children, reporting of Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP) cases and the weekly monitoring system followed in the State for preventing polio,” K.Kulandaisamy, Director of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, said.

Tamil Nadu had no polio case for the past 10 years and the last case was reported from Tenkasi in Tirunelveli district in February 2004.

“WHO has certain criteria for assessment before it certifies India as polio-free. This mandatory evaluation is being done in all States and the process was completed during the second week of this month,” the Director said. The assessment report would be submitted to the WHO country office in New Delhi.

N.Iyyanar, Joint Director of Public Health (Immunisation), who made a PowerPoint presentation at a workshop on polio eradication strategy in the State here recently, said the WHO team was given an update on reporting and AFP follow-up system in place in Tamil Nadu, polio immunisation coverage of children and the implementation of pulse polio programme through National Immunisation Days.

Apart from visiting hospitals and meeting doctors in Chennai and Kanyakumari districts, the assessment team had a meeting with P.K. Bansal, Additional Secretary (Health) and top officials in the Directorate of Public Health.

There were also interactions with members of Indian Medical Association, Indian Academy of Paediatrics and members of Rotary Clubs.

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