Polio drive: Focus on migrant workers' kids in North B'luru

Polio drive: Focus on migrant workers' kids in North B'luru

Karnataka, where last polio case was reported in 2007, has 29,000 risk areas

Polio drive: Focus on migrant workers' kids in North B'luru

Northern Bengaluru, which has a large population of migrants who mainly work at the numerous construction sites, will be the primary focus zone of the annual polio immunisation programme that begins on Sunday.

The Department of Health and Family Welfare has identified many high-risk areas in northern Bengaluru where it aims to immunise every child against polio. Bengaluru has the highest number of high-risk areas in Karnataka. With 1,960 spots being tagged the migratory area, 421 are marked as high-risk areas in the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike Limits (BBMP). Across the State, 29,000 risk areas have been identified.

The department has marked slums with migrant population, nomads, brick lanes, construction sites and others as high-risk areas. Dr A Ramachandra Bairy, deputy director, immunisation, said, “Northern Bengaluru is growing at a rapid pace. It has a large floating population which works at numerous construction sites.”

The last case of polio in India was reported in Howrah, West Bengal, five years ago. The last one in Karnataka was in November 2007. But since many of India’s neighbouring countries still have active polio virus, immunisation is important to prevent any relapse, he said.

“We have people travelling to these countries. To be on a safer side, it’s important that we carry on the immunisation programme until our neighbours also eliminate the virus,” he added.

During the immunisation programme, the Department of Health and Family Welfare will also send its transit teams to Namma Metro construction sites, said its director Dr G Vamadev. “This year, we are sending out a message that the onus lies on the employers to ensure that children of labourers are immunised.” The departments of Women and Child Development, Public Instruction, Urban Development and Transport would also be roped in the drive, he added.

74L kids to be immunised

In all, 74,26,909 children are to be immunised against polio in Karnataka; 5,25,505 of them in Bengaluru. Across the State, 32,617 booths would be set up; 2,000 of them in BBMP limits. Targeting the travelling public, 1,732 transit teams would be deployed at railway and bus stations, airports and toll gates across Karnataka.