Explained: The Pulse Polio Programme and why India still runs it

News:Recently,Rashtrapati Bhavan became the site of a polio vaccination drive, to mark the beginning of this year’s Pulse Polio Programme.


About Polio:

  • Polio is an acute infectious disease caused by polio virus.The virus is a human enterovirus of the Picornaviridae.Polio mainly affects children under 5 years of age.
  • It is transmitted from one person to another by oral contact with secretions or faecal material from an infected person.
  • It attacks the central nervous system through the bloodstream and damage the cells and paralyse the victim.There is no cure for polio as it can only be prevented.
  • India was declared polio free in 2014 and the last case was reported in January 2011.

About Pulse Polio Programme:

  • India had launched the Pulse Polio immunisation programme in 1995, after a resolution for a global initiative of polio eradication was adopted by the World Health Assembly (WHA) in 1988.
  • The children in the age group of 0-5 years are administered polio drops during national and sub-national immunisation rounds (in high-risk areas) every year.
  • Under the programme,all states and Union Territories have developed Rapid Response Teams (RRT) to respond to any polio outbreak in the country. 
  • Emergency Preparedness and Response Plans(EPRP) have also been developed by states indicating steps to be undertaken in case of detection of a polio case.

Why is India still running the programme?

  • To prevent the virus from coming to India, the government has since March 2014 made the Oral Polio Vaccination(OPV) mandatory for those travelling between India and polio-affected countries such as Afghanistan, Nigeria, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Syria and Cameroon.