Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Home again and what next for Polio ?

After the stress of the journey from Ludhiana to Delhi, it was a relief to have a relatively easy trip home.

Homeward Plane

Our plane took off on time and arrived on time

Homeward Route

and the route we flew avoided all of the current major trouble spots. 

The food on board was quite reasonable,

Homeward Selfie

there were plenty of films to watch and we managed to take our first (and hopefully last) selfie with our new camera. And so, some 16 hours after leaving our hotel in Delhi, we were home again.

Herts and Essex

An article about our trip also appeared in our local newspaper just after we got back.

What next for Polio?

As a part of their “End Game Plan”, India is switching from trivalent oral polio vaccine to bivalent oral polio vaccine in April 2016 and plans to withdraw all Oral Polio Vaccine in 2018/19 and move completely to the injectable form.

This sounds easy to do but currently the level of routine immunisation at birth is 65% and it has to reach at least 95% before “herd immunity” can be relied upon.

However because Injectable Polio Vaccine is not a  ‘live” vaccine, it carries no risk of vaccine associated polio paralysis which is one of the major disadvantages of the oral vaccine. It is also more effective as a vaccine.

The world will not see Year Zero in 2016 because there has already been one case in Pakistan. Year Zero cannot be that far away however and Rotary has committed itself to continuing the battle until it is won. There are two National Immunisation Days planned in India for early 2017 and we will probably go again, health permitting, and would like to continue to do so until Year Zero. Being part of the team responsible for the end of this disease is important to us.

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