Rastriya Samachar Samiti

Kathmandu, January 2

Prime Minister Thapa initiated the eighth National Immunisation Day programme by administering polio drops to children under five at the Paropkar Sri Panch Indra Rajya Laxmi Devi Prashuti Griha (maternity hospital) at Thapathali, this morning.

About 42,00,000 children under five all over the kingdom will be administered

the drops in 67 districts tomorrow and on February 21.

The immunisation programme was initiated in 2053 BS with the cooperation from the donor agencies.

Speaking on the occasion, Thapa said it has been proved that success has been achieved in the campaign against polio as no patients have been seen for the past three years in the country.

Although the mortality rate has been lowered in the past few years, it is not satisfactory as compared to that of the neighbouring and developed countries, Thapa said, adding various vaccination programmes have been run to save children and campaign to control measles will be initiated this year.

Health Minister Kamal Thapa said not to have polio patients and to declare the country polio-free is not sufficient, but the neighbouring countries should also be sensitive on this, and thanked the donor agencies for cooperating in the campaign against polio.

On the occasion, Minister at the Japanese embassy Kajumi handed over oral polio vaccines to Director General of the Department of Health Services Dr B D Chataut. There are 39,000 vaccination centres set up and one hundred thousand health workers and volunteers and 15,000 supervisors mobilised for the campaign.

Health secretary Lokman Singh Karki, Chairman of the maternity hospital Saraswoti Upadhya and WHO representative expressed the view that the campaign has been successful and also expected cooperation from all.

Nepal has been facing technical difficulty to declare Nepal a polio-free country because of open borders and polio patients existing in the neighbouring countries, although no cases have been found in Nepal in the past three years.

WHO, UNICEF, Rotary International and the government of Japan have been

cooperating in the campaign against polio in the country.