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Union Health Minister admits India will miss polio eradication target

D.N.I.S. News Network – In all likelihood, India will miss its polio eradication target and its efforts will continue well beyond 2006, given the recent rise in figures of polio cases in recent months. This has also been confirmed by the Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare Dr. A. Ramadoss.

“India is likely to miss the current eradication target, and transmission of wild polio virus may continue beyond end 2006,” the Health Minister stated in the Rajya Sabha recently. Spelling out the latest figures, he said that 155 confirmed polio cases have been reported this year.

The number is more than double of what was reported last year. Of the cases reported this year, a majority were detected from Uttar Pradesh (U.P.) and Bihar. While polio cases had earlier been concentrated in a fairly restricted area of Western U.P., recently it has shown a geographical spread with a few cases being reported from Central U.P. also.

Dr. Ramadoss said a number of steps were being taken to plug the loopholes in the polio eradication programme. He stated that at a recent meeting of the Indian Expert Advisory Group, it was noted that a full twelve months of high quality activity would be necessary to ensure that immunity gaps are closed and transmission of the polio virus is stopped.