TAMIL NADU

4.22 lakhs children immunised

CHENNAI, JAN. 20. For the parents who took their children to the Chennai Corporation's Family Welfare Centre at Pulla Avenue, Shenoy Nagar for immunisation on Sunday, the visit was perhaps an eye-opener.

For, the ever-smiling youth who was taking the census of the immunised children at the centre, was himself polio afflicted. The only indication, however, was his pair of crutches resting against a wall behind his chair.

Jaffer, a post-graduate student of Financial Management in Pondicherry Central University, was an active member of the NSS during his college days and has been participating at the Pulse Polio Immuisation programme since the past three years. This year too, he had taken time out to ``make a contribution to this novel programme so that the disease is wiped out from the face of the earth.''

And he has a good reason for it. ``I do not want anybody to suffer the fate I did,'' he says with a smile. The entire pulse polio campaign went into action again today, with that objective.

The Corporation Commissioner, P.R.Shampath, visited the centre in the morning and administered polio drops to children.

At this eighth Pulse Polio Immunisation programme, about 4.22 lakh children were immunised on Sunday. It was about 90.2 per cent of the total number of children below five years, the target age group, during the current round.

Chennai has recorded no fresh Polio cases for the past two years. The Corporation Deputy Commissioner in charge of Health, Dharmendra Pratap Yadav, said that during the last phase in December, the coverage on the Immunisation Day was just over 90 per cent. But during the mop-up exercise, about 4.9 lakh children were administered polio drops which was more than the targetted 4.53 lakh children.

The campaign in the city was kicked off by the Deputy Mayor, `Karate' R. Thyagarajan, at the Perumalpet Corporation Health Post in Purasawalkam.

A door to door mopping up exercise will be taken up for about three days from Monday by the health staff to ensure that the coverage has been total.

Over 1,100 immunisation posts were set up in different parts of the city including Government Hospitals, private Hospitals and clinics. The maximum rush was witnessed between 7-30 a.m. and 9 a.m., the volunteers and Corporation health staff manning the booths, said.

Nearly 50 mobile posts were also placed in strategic areas such as the Beach, railway stations and bus stands to cater to the travelling population. Each immunised child was marked on the left little finger using an ink to avoid duplication of dose administration during the mop-up exercise. Volunteers from the Rotary Clubs, other organisations and students from schools and colleges lent support to the campaign.

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