Over 9,000 children missed out on inoculation during the polio immunisation programme in Hyderabad. This was despite the best efforts of vaccinations teams to provide maximum coverage in the 'catch-up days'.
The campaign initially missed 25,000 children. The district health and administration authorities had a target of more than 287,000 children under five years of age.
Some 23,394 children were not available on the first two days, while the parents of another 1,626 children turned the polio teams away.
However, the health workers reduced the number of children who missed the immunisation to less than 10,000 in the following two catch-up days.
"We have extended the catch up coverage," deputy commissioner Fuad Ghaffar Soomro told The Express Tribune. He said by the evening of June 11, the number of children who were not available during the initial visits of the polio teams reduced to 9,041 and the refusal cases fell to 806.
At the outset of the drive, 54,347 children were not available for the drops, while the families of 2,265 children refused the teams. "Despite all the efforts and creating awareness, there are still thousands of families which reject immunisation and this is very concerning," said a health official, requesting anonymity.
The poliovirus was found in the drainage system of Hyderabad in the environmental sample taken in March of 2021. The reports of April and May are still awaited.
The highest number of initial refusal cases was witnessed in Latifabad taluka with 1,018, followed by City taluka with 769, Qasimabad taluka with 365 and the Rural taluka with 113. By Friday, the figure reduced to 348 in Latifabad, 300 in City, 143 in Qasimabad and 15 in Rural.
As many as 3,263 children could not be inoculated in Latifabad, 2,967 in City, 1,628 in Rural and 1,183 in Qasimabad because were not home.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 13h, 2021.