Polio: Parents Get Gifts for Allowing Their Children Immunised

From Segun Awofadeji in Bauchi, 06.28.2010
For allowing their children under five years to be immunised against poliomyelitis and other child killer diseases, parents in Alkaleri Local Government council of Bauchi State got gift items, including detergents, soaps and other household items.
The items which are called ‘pluses’ were distributed as incentives during the implementation of immunisation plus days as well as the on-going 2010 Maternal and New Born Child Health Week/June Immunisation plus Days as monitored in Alkaleri West and East last weekend.
House to house and fixed vaccinators as well as their supervisors went round with detergents as well as soaps which they gave to parents who complied with the exercise.
The Disease Surveillance and Notification Officer  (DSNO) of the council, Likita Abubakar, who conducted our correspondent round, said the gesture has bolstered compliance, adding that "before non compliance was high especially in Alkaleri town but with such measures and the intervention of the Emir of Dass,  Usman Bilyaminu Othman, who is the chairman of the state mobilisation committee, compliance is now 100%.’’

Our correspondent observed that Oral Polio Vaccines, Measles, DPT, TT, Hepatitis B and Yellow Fever vaccines were being administered apart from other medicines which included de-worming tablets and supplements, to the children while officials of the National Population Commission accompanied the vaccinators to issue birth certificates to the children who were not registered before.

Thursday June 24, 2010
Low-dose polio vaccine effective - study
By Gene Emery
BOSTON (Reuters) - Giving just one-fifth the usual dose of the polio vaccine may protect babies against the virus nearly as well as a full dose, as long as it is injected just beneath the skin, doctors reported on Wednesday.

A health worker administers a polio vaccine to a child during a nationwide drive against the disease in a hospital in Islamabad August 8, 2007. (REUTERS/Faisal Mahmood)
The findings could bring down the cost of immunization, an important consideration in developing countries, some of which have had trouble containing the paralytic disease.
A needle-free jet injector made by Bioject Medical Technologies was used to deliver the vaccine beneath the skin at ages 2, 4 and 6 months. Blood tests showed more than 95 percent of the infants mounted an effective immune response against polio.
Babies who got a lower dose had fewer antibodies against polio but the researchers said that should not be a problem.
"It's still way over what would still be considered protective levels," Dr. Roland Sutter of the World Health Organization said in a telephone interview.
The injectable vaccine costs about $3 per dose. The oral polio vaccine is much cheaper, at about 15 cents, but it contains a weakened virus that can mutate and sometimes cause polio in patients or when it gets into sewage.
So public health experts now favor the injectable vaccine.
"With this study, we know we can use this means to lower the price," Sutter said. "If we can do one-fifth the dose, we can at least get it down to one dollar, so we are getting into the neighborhood of a price that may be affordable for developing countries in the future."
Polio continues to be common in Afghanistan, India, Pakistan and Nigeria, sometimes because of war, sometimes because of overcrowding, Dr. John Modlin of Dartmouth Medical School in New Hampshire wrote in a commentary.
The big problem in Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation, was a one-year ban on the vaccine in some northern states, beginning in 2003, after some state governors and religious leaders in the predominately Muslim north claimed Western powers had contaminated the vaccines to spread sterility and AIDS among Muslims.
The study of 373 children was done in Oman, in part because there was little risk that natural polio would influence the results, Sutter said.
While just 4.3 percent of parents said they preferred needle vaccination for their child, 93 percent said they liked the needle-free method better, usually because the baby did not cry.
Polio, which spreads in areas with poor sanitation, attacks the nervous system and can cause irreversible paralysis within hours of infection. Children under 4 are the most vulnerable to the disease that until the 1950s crippled thousands of people every year in rich nations.
The World Health Organization has suggested a budget of $2.6 billion for its polio eradication efforts in 2010-2012, but says it faces a shortfall of about half of funds for that period.(Editing by Maggie Fox and Mohammad Zargham)(For more news on Reuters India, click http://in.reuters.com)

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