The news of fresh polio cases coming from Uttar Pradesh has disproved the claims of health authorities about the eradication of polio, as 17 new cases have been reported in the state.
This is reported by the annual report of the National Polio Surveillance Project (NPSP) issued here this month.
Some of the victims had undergone the much-publicised immunization programme, funded not only by the state but also by international agencies like UNICEF, Rotary International and World Health Organisation.
According to the report, seven cases were found in Moradabad, barely 130 km from New Delhi. Two cases each were reported from Budaun and Barielly, in the neighbourhood of Moradabad.
One case each was reported from Firozabad, Bulandshahr, Pilibhit and Jai Prakash Nagar - all in western Uttar Pradesh.
The situation was discussed during a two-day meeting of the India Expert Advisory Group for Polio Eradication in New Delhi May 4 and 5. The group was understood to have attributed the continued spread of polio in this state to various factors.
According to a senior official of the state, "the high density of population, lacunae in the routine immunisation programme and largescale malnutrition were identified as the key factors".
He said: "High incidence of intestinal diseases as also poor sense of public health and hygiene were also seen as factors contributing heavily to repeated detection of polio cases."
L.B. Prasad, director general (family welfare) of Uttar Pradesh, admits there are loopholes in both planning and implementation of the polio immunisation programme in the state.
Uttar Pradesh is the only Indian state, besides Bihar, where cases of polio are reported every now and then.
Of the 1,918 cases detected globally (in nine countries) in 2000, as many as 1,600 were in India. Out of these 1,242 cases were found in Uttar Pradesh alone.
In 2005 (Jan 1 to July 12), while the global count stood at 759 (in 13 countries) there was a sharp drop in the cases in India where it came down to 20. But Uttar Pradesh still accounted for 12 of these.