Free Press Journal

Bhopal: ‘Strike virus’ paralyses pulse polio campaign


Bhopal: The second phase of the national pulse polio campaign which began on Sunday, is on a sick bed following strike by contractual health workers.

In a blatant violation of health guidelines, vaccines for campaign were carried on bikes in polythene bags instead of prescribed kits and were administered by untrained persons on Sunday, the first day of the commencement of the second phase of the National Pulse Polio Campaign. Vaccines, supposed to be kept in a kit to maintain their required temperature, were distributed in polythene bags to the people engaged for the campaign.

With contractual health workers including ASHA, USHA, Aganwardi workers keeping away from work, the National Pulse polio campaign was carried out by untrained staff. Even children were seen administering polio drops to small kids.

The strike is also likely hit the two-day door-to- door campaign starting from Monday to meet the target of administering polio drops to around 1.2 crore children below 5 years.

In absence of ground level contractual workers, set guidelines for the campaign were not followed. The cold chain kits, meant for maintain the proper temperature of the vaccines, were not distributed to the teams. In absence of the kids, the polio vaccines were carried in polythene carry bags.

National health rural mission (NHRM) which is main monitoring body in Madhya Pradesh has constituted 45,431 booths, 2488 transit booths and deployed 1609 mobile teams to implement the health campaign. In Bhopal, MLA Surendra Nath inaugurated pulse polio campaign in PC Nagar.

Rahul Jain, convener of MP Samvida Swashthya Karmchari Sagathan, said that Central government has allotted sufficient fund for implementation of the campaign. “Vaccines are supposed to be carried in prescribed kits and transported in vans, for with the government has sanctioned a good amount, however instead, they were transported through bikes and that too in plastic bags,” said Jain.

The contractual health workers are on strike demanding regularization and reinstatement of terminated workers. The state government should take notice of their demands to settle the issue, he added. MP Health Employees Association general secretary Laxminarayan Sharma said that the strike has badly affected the Pulse polio campaign and only formalities were carried out on the first day.

“Nearly 19,000 contractual workers are sizeable number and state government cannot ignore them. The state government had set March 11 (Sunday) as deadline for them to resume their duties, however the health workers are adamant on their demands, said Sharma.