The programme ensures each and every child is protected with Oral Polio vaccine immediately after birth, and each time it is offered thereafter. In kosi river area in Bihar, which is the core endemic area in India, the vaccination coverage has only reached 65% (Doshi et al, 2011). There have been a large number of un-vaccinated children detected in field huts in Bihar in 2010 (Khera, 2011). Hence, intensive supervision and monitoring schedule is needed for the programme to become successful.
However, there is observed a lack of vaccination coverage and awareness among the people. People have displayed a reluctance to use the vaccines provided by the government owing to various misconceptions and rumors. The misconceptions largely relate to the efficacy and potency of the medicine as well as the fear of the medicines being spurious (Roberts, 2004). There are also rumors about the whole programme is to help multinational pharmaceutical companies. The widespread misconception and lack of information had caused much harm for the implementation of the program (Grassly et al, 2006). As such, a revised communication strategy was launched under the Polio Eradication Programme to create awareness and acceptance for the polio vaccination medicines.
1.2 The Proposed Policy The Polio Eradication Programme in India is a collaborative effort between the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW), WHO’s National Polio Surveillance Project (NPSP), UNICEF, Rotary International, and the U.S. Centres for Disease Control. The aim of this programme is to eradicate polio from India by immunizing every child less than 5 years with oral polio vaccine (OPV).This programme is working to ensure: 1. Improved vaccination coverage using voluntary workforce, micro planning and supervision 2. Coverage during major religious occasions 3. Focus on Migrants Populations 4. Identification of high risk areas and target approach to Immunization 5. Adopting a multi-sector approach and partnership with Unicef, WHO and other organizations. 6. Preparedness for combating any outbreak with b OPV (Khera, 2011) 1.3 Stakeholders for the Policy The various stakeholders for the policy include: 1. World Health Organization (WHO) 2. Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Central Government 3. State Governments/ Union Territories’ Administrations 4. Community Worker 5. National Polio Surveillance Unit 6. Anganwadi Workers 7. Parents and Children who receive Oral Polio Vaccines (OPV) 1.4 Background Information on Immunization in India The Pulse Polio Immunization (PPI) program has been initiated to eradicate Poliomyelitis, a vaccine preventable disease. This programme was launched in the year 1995, with the stated objective of eradicating polio from India by the year 2000. However, the program has failed to achieve its target, and the objectives have been revised several times over the past decade. The target was revised to make complete eradication of polio in India by 2002, and again by 2007. Both the revised targets too have resulted in failure as there were reported cases of polio (Nathanson and Kew, 2011).