Polio check: India to focus on 'vulnerable' migrants
New Delhi: After its removal from the list of polio-endemic nations, India has been told to concentrate on its migrant populations to ensure that no fresh case of wild polio virus is reported in the country.
Sharing its information on migrant settlements vulnerable to polio spread, the WHO has asked the Union Health Ministry to concentrate on such areas to heighten its surveillance on migrant population.
India will lose its tag of being a polio-free nation once a fresh case is reported till January 2014. The last case of polio was detected on January 13, 2011 in West Bengal.
Sources said a large number of such settlements at high risk of wild polio virus transmission have been identified which include construction sites, jhuggi clusters and nomad areas.
"Migrant population plays a big role and are at high risk for spread of poliovirus.... They are a big challenge and we are now concentrating on such settlements," said a Health Ministry official.
He said the data needs to be updated frequently and "we have mapped them out now" and intimation has been sent to various states for maintaining strict vigil in such areas.
Health Ministry officials say the migrant population are most vulnerable to polio spread and such areas need to be focused for polio vaccination under the pulse polio programme.
Officials say such vulnerable settlements will now be in focus to help build the immunity of children in such areas.
Only three countries in the world are now in the list of polio-endemic nations. Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan, which have never stopped indigenous wild polio virus transmission.