Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Providing monovalent oral polio vaccine type 1 to newborns: findings from a pilot birth-dose project in Moradabad district, India

JJ Rainey, P Bhatnagar, CF Estivariz, S Durrani, M Galway, H Sandhu, S Bahl, H Jafari & J Wenger

Problem

Poliovirus transmission remained a public health challenge in western Uttar Pradesh, India in late 2005 and early 2006. In 2006, the India Expert Advisory Group for Polio Eradication concluded that, given the peak incidence of polio among children 6 to 12 months of age, a targeted birth dose of oral polio vaccine may be necessary to interrupt intense poliovirus transmission in high risk areas.

Approach

The Government of Uttar Pradesh, the National Polio Surveillance Project and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) implemented a pilot birth-dose project aimed at identifying and vaccinating all newborns with a dose of oral polio vaccine within 72 hours of birth in an effort to evaluate operational feasibility and potential impact on population immunity.

Local setting

The project was piloted in Moradabad district: zone 7 in Moradabad City (urban setting), Kunderki block (rural setting) and in select birthing hospitals.

Relevant changes

Between July 2006 and February 2007, 9740 newborns were identified, of which 6369 (65%) were vaccinated by project personnel within 72 hours of birth. Project coverage (for total newborns vaccinated) ranged from 39% (in zone 7) to 76% (in Kunderki block) of the estimated number of newborns vaccinated during previous supplemental immunization activities.

Lessons learned

Birth-dose coverage among newborns was lower than expected. Expansion costs were estimated to be high, with marginal impact. The project, however, provided opportunities to strengthen newborn tracking systems which have increased the number of newborns and young infants vaccinated during supplemental immunization activities and enrolled in routine programmes.

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