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Media, Rotary Clubs to be roped in for awareness programmes
No polio case reported in State since 2004: Public Health Director
MADURAI: In the wake of last year’s experience, the Tamil Nadu government is ready with a strategy to counter the spread of rumours about the safety of oral polio vaccine.
This will be implemented during the round of pulse polio immunisation for children scheduled for January.
According to S. Elango, Director of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, many awareness programmes would be conducted ahead of immunisation to educate mothers on the safety of oral polio vaccine and the need to bring their children to immunisation booths.
“The next round of National Immunisation Days will be held in January/February 2010. The Tamil Nadu Health Department will build up a campaign to mobilise people to polio booths and tell them not to believe false information,” Dr. Elango said here on Sunday.
He was making a presentation on the “Role of the Tamil Nadu government in Polio Eradication and future strategies” at an interface organised by the National Polio Plus Committee and Rotary International District 3000 along with the Directorate of Public Health.
Referring to the rumours spread across the State, which caused panic among parents during the polio immunisation in December last, the Director said the death of a child in Erode was wrongly attributed to the administering of polio vaccine.
“That particular child was already operated on for hydrocephalus and the death had nothing to do with the vaccine. Rumour is the first enemy of Pulse Polio Immunisation,” Dr. Elango said.
For the next national immunisation, the dates for which would be announced shortly, the State government would effectively use the media, Rotary Clubs, grass-root health staff and others to educate parents on the vaccine’s safety.
Stating that the task ahead was to remove fears in the minds of people, Dr.Elango said an editorial in The Hindu on December 25 last year about the safety of oral polio vaccine had helped people understand the issue better.
He said following effective immunisation strategies there was not a single polio case in Tamil Nadu since February 2004.
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