Reaching Every Child: Continuous Vaccination Sites, Transit Points In East Champaran Bihar
MUZZARPUR, India – 15 October 2011 - In line with the recommendations of the India Expert Advisory Group (IEAG) the polio endemic states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar are working to identify, map and include migrants and mobile communities in the microplans for SIAs and RI.
Since the beginning of this initiative in May this year 3,630,964 children have been checked and 1,140,949 children immunized for polio at the Indo-Nepal border and major railway stations in Bihar. These figures become important in light of the fact that there were three P1 cases reported from Dhaka in Bihar last year which traveled to Bihar from bordering Nepal which had reported five cases.
In Muzaffarpur, Raxaul and Sikta railway stations in the East Champaran district of Bihar the government has deployed vaccination teams who are trained by the Medical officer in charge (MOIC) and reshuffled every week. These vaccination teams work in two shifts from 7.00am to 7.00 pm and are facilitated by the WHO field volunteers and Unicef BMCs who monitor their day to day activities.
“Although it is difficult to work in such difficult circumstances with all the heat and dust, it gives me immense satisfaction to know that I have contributed to saving the life of a little child,” says Ganesh Kumar Soni a transit vaccinator at the Bihar-Nepal border in Raxaul.
This initiative of the Government of India and supported by UNICEF, NPSP-WHO and other partners was launched in May this year and will continue till the end of the year. A difficult task, this initiative has help coming from many quarters.
Maitrey is an NGO which works to prevent trafficking. They have a permanent post on the Nepal side of the border. Anil Kumar, the BMC in Raxaul can be credited with arranging for a letter of support from the health department for this NGO.
Tremendous logistics and mobilisation support was provided by the UNICEF Bihar office which designed Information education and communication (IEC) materials for these transit sites. Dateless banners, posters and handbills in Hindi, Nepali and Bengali were printed.
It is being proposed to continue with these vaccination sites in the coming year too. The fight against this disease that paralyzes for life is a long drawn one and will require continuous and unrelenting efforts from the government and all partners.