Polio programme: let us declare victory and move on

Indian J Med Ethics. Apr-Jun 2012;9(2):114-7. doi: 10.20529/IJME.2012.035.

Abstract

It was hoped that following polio eradication, immunisation could be stopped. However the synthesis of polio virus in 2002, made eradication impossible. It is argued that getting poor countries to expend their scarce resources on an impossible dream over the last 10 years was unethical. Furthermore, while India has been polio-free for a year, there has been a huge increase in non-polio acute flaccid paralysis (NPAFP). In 2011, there were an extra 47,500 new cases of NPAFP. Clinically indistinguishable from polio paralysis but twice as deadly, the incidence of NPAFP was directly proportional to doses of oral polio received. Though this data was collected within the polio surveillance system, it was not investigated. The principle of primum-non-nocere was violated. The authors suggest that the huge bill of US$ 8 billion spent on the programme, is a small sum to pay if the world learns to be wary of such vertical programmes in the future.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Immunization Programs*
  • Incidence
  • India / epidemiology
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Muscle Hypotonia / epidemiology
  • Paralysis / epidemiology
  • Paralysis / etiology*
  • Poliomyelitis / epidemiology
  • Poliomyelitis / prevention & control*
  • Poliovirus Vaccines / adverse effects*

Substances

  • Poliovirus Vaccines