TAMIL NADU

Immunisation programme covers over 5 lakh

Krishnagiri Collector V.K. Shanmugam administering polio drops to a child at Boganapalli, near Krishnagiri, on Sunday. –

Krishnagiri Collector V.K. Shanmugam administering polio drops to a child at Boganapalli, near Krishnagiri, on Sunday. –   | Photo Credit: Photo: N. Bashkaran

Staff Reporter

Over 9,000 volunteers mobilised, including students

SALEM: Over 5 lakh children aged below five years in Salem and Namakkal districts were administered polio drops in the second round of the pulse polio immunisation campaign held on Sunday.

Awareness programmes were organised to dispel the misconceptions about the administration of polio drops and encourage people to immunise their children against polio.

In Salem district, 3.7 lakh children were administered polio drops at 2,330 camps set up for this purpose.

Of these, 1,906 camps were located in the rural areas.

The camps were set up in the government hospitals, Primary Health Centres, health sub-centres, schools, noon-meal centres and ‘anganwadis’ in the district.

Mayor J. Rekha Priyadarshini launched the campaign in Salem Corporation limits.

Over 9,000 volunteers, including student volunteers from a number of paramedical institutes, government officials from education, social welfare, revenue and other departments, volunteers from non-governmental organisations and members of voluntary organisations such as Rotary Clubs and Lions Clubs were involved in the campaign. In Namakkal district, over 1.5 lakh children were immunised against polio at 1,119 camps.

Collector U. Sagayam launched the campaign at Muthalaipatti panchayat union primary school.

Special camps were established to cover all the tribal children living in the remote villages in Kolli Hills.

Apart from involving government officials and students in the campaign, the district administration had utilised the services of non-governmental organisations and voluntary organisations to conduct the camps.

Officials said that health personnel would carry out a door-to-door exercise in the coming days to cover the children who were left out on Sunday.

Rural areas

The response to the second phase of the pulse polio campaign in the districts of Salem and Namakkal on Sunday, officials claimed, was ‘very good.’

After bitter experiences during the first phase of the campaign following the spread of rumours on the efficacy of drops, the entire team, which engaged in the second phase, had seen to it that no stone was left unturned to make it a successful campaign. The sustained efforts of publicity and awareness movement paid off for all those involved in the effort.

The steps that were taken included distribution of handbills, announcement through tom toms, taking out of rallies and holding of camps.

All these had had the cumulative effect of totally eradicating the fears in the minds of parents about the polio drops.

They gained confidence that the immunisation was safe and would benefit their children.

As instructed by the Collectors of the respective districts, mobile teams of doctors, police, paramedical staff and volunteers covered the entire areas asking the parents to bring children in order that the young ones could be administered the drops.

Even remote habitations in these districts were covered to ensure total coverage.

The tireless campaign on the importance of polio drops had paid off handsomely.

“No parent was apprehensive as in the past. They were convinced that drops would not cause any harm to their wards,” said a paramedic at a primary health centre in a village.

In fact 27 children out of total 28 of below five years in Athumedu village in Panamarathupatti union in Salem district had been covered well before 10 a.m.

Similarly 71 out of 100 in Nathamedu hamlet were covered while the near-by Nalliampudur registered 45 per cent by 10 am.

“As Sunday happened to be an auspicious day for marriages, many parents in these villages had gone out,” said a volunteer in an anganwadi centre where the drops were administered.

“We will cover them tomorrow,” she said.

“It is a very good response. By 2 p.m. we have covered 65 to 70 per cent and by 4 p.m., we have crossed 80,” said Dr. J. Nirmalson, Deputy Director (Health Services), Salem district.

Namakkal

Namakkal recorded a similar trend. By 4 p.m., it registered 90 per cent of coverage.

Barring the incident under the Nangavalli Primary Health Centre in Salem district where a seven-month-old child had died allegedly after administering drops, no untoward incident was reported from any parts of these two districts which were worse affected when rumours hit during the first phase of the campaign.

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