New Delhi: President Ram Nath Kovind today launched the Pulse Polio programme for 2018 by administering polio drops to children below five years at the Rashtrapati Bhavan here.
The president administered the drops on the eve of National Immunisation Day, which is observed tomorrow, a Union Health Ministry statement said.
Over 17 cr children, below five years, across the country, will be given polio drops as part of the Government of India’s drive, it said.
“We need to remain vigilant and maintain the population’s immunity and carry out sensitive surveillance till global polio eradication happens as the poliovirus is still circulating in other parts of the world which may reinfect us,” Union Health Minister J P Nadda said on the occasion.
He said that the government is making all the possible efforts to protect children from diseases.
“It is important that all vaccines under the programme reach every child of our country,” Nadda said.
To mitigate the risk of poliovirus importation, immunity against the infection is maintained through national and sub-national polio rounds along with sustained high-quality surveillance, he said.
To provide additional protection to our children, the health ministry has also introduced the injectable Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) into its routine immunization programme, the minister said.
Nadda said that the Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP) is focusing on to protect children from more diseases than ever before and has introduced several new vaccines such as the Pneumococcal Conjugate vaccine, Rotavirus vaccine, and the Measles-Rubella vaccine.
He said that strengthening of immunization programmes has significantly contributed to the decline in the Infant Mortality Rate from 39 in 2014 to 34 per 1000 live births in 2016 (as per SRS reports).