Poliomyelitis has been eradicated from more than 142 countries and the Government
of India is also committed to achieve this target by the year 2000. The strategy of immunizing all children under the age of five years on one single day, to be repeated 4-6 weeks later is being implemented in India as Pulse Polio Immunization (PPI). More than 127 million under five children were given oral polio drops on 18th January, 1997 and a national coverage of 93.3%
for two doses was achieved in the year 1996-97(1). The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has recommended to put more efforts in slums, tribal and remote areas, in order to reach 100% of the children.
Health indicators, infrastructure and literacy rates in Union Territory of Chandigarh are among the best in the country and are comparable with the developed nations. Inspite of this, PPI campaigns are unable to record a superior coverage in Chandigarh
in comparison to
some of the States and Union Territories in India, which reported it close to 100%. This encouraged us to conduct a survey among the medical professionals (doctors, nurses,
and laboratory technicians), who are likely
to be highly motivated and whose participation in such campaigns is taken for granted. The Department of Community Medicine, Government Medical College, Chandigarh
made an attempt to contact, personally all medical professionals, currently having at least a child upto the age of six years, to find out the coverage and awareness regarding PPI.
Out of 77 eligible members, 53.2% were doctors, 42.9% were males and spouses of 59.2% also belonged to the medical profession. It was observed that 90.9% of the children
of the medical staff received both the doses, 6.5% had one and 2.6% received
none, for the year 1996-97. It is disheartening to find it below the overall coverage of 93% for the two doses recorded in Chandigarh for the corresponding period.
It was also observed that 40.3% were un- aware of the PPI days, just 7-10 days
prior to 7th December 1997, the day of first round of 1997-98 campaign. Doctors,
nurses and technicians are not only expected to lead from the front by immunizing their children but also spread the message of polio eradication among patients and the community.
Department of Community Medicine,
Government Medical College,
Chandigarh 16004,. India.