news Thursday, January 29, 2015 - 05:30

The News Minute |September 18, 2014 | 12.54 pm IST

Nepal today became the first country to introduce the injectable polio pirus (IPV) supported by a consortium of public and private institutions.

“The last transmission of polio from one person to another in Nepal was almost five years ago. Today, we start to make sure that not one of our children will ever again have her future stolen or his dreams destroyed by this disease,” Nepalese Minister for Health and Population Khaga Raj Adhikari said at a ceremony in Kathmandu. 

Nepal has been polio-free since 2010. The government appoints people as health volunteers who visit homes continuously and report polio cases to the health officials. The system has been working well but, the fear of resurgence of polio exists as vaccination coverage is not uniform in the country, said a WHO report.

Oral and the injectable vaccines are the two types of polio vaccines currently available. The oral vaccine contains a very weakened form of live polio virus, and the WHO had called for a transition from oral to injectable type of vaccination. The latter type injects the virus directly into the bloodstream making the vaccination more effective.

Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations(GAVI), a public-private global health partnership working in the immunization sector, had helped Nepal in the vaccination drive. “As the first Gavi-supported country to introduce IPV, Nepal takes the lead in the global effort to secure a polio-free future,” said Dr Seth Berkley, the CEO of Gavi.

Nepal is the first country supported by the Gavi Alliance to introduce the IPV. "Nepal is an inspiration to South Asia and to all of us”, said Olivier Charmeil, President and CEO of Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccine supplier. "Nepal has steadily increased vaccine coverage and reduced child mortality," he added.

Endorsed by 194 countries in 2013 the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) Endgame Strategic Plan aims to achieve a polio-free word by 2018. The immunization drive globally is partnered and partially financed by the Sanofi Pasteur and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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