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Pietrasik Polio B&W A 010.jpg

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Two children of a family working at a brick kiln in the Sadar area of Patna city. Workers in Bihar's kilns are mainly seasonal migrants from poor households. They are at particular risk of missing polio vaccination rounds and their traveling makes it imperative that they are immunised for fear of spreading the virus. In Bihar state in the May 2006 polio vaccination round there were 173,997 children immunised at brick kilns alone...India is one of only four countries in the world reported to suffer endemic polio. Only 66 new cases of the disease were reported in India in 2005. But in 2006 that figure leapt ten-fold. In September, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan wrote to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressing concern at the new polio outbreak. The Indian government, together with partners including Unicef and Rotary International has embarked on a renewed effort to eradicate polio. Overcrowded areas of poor sanitation are particularly susceptible to the virus. Focusing on the poor north Indian states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar which between them are home to more than 250 million people, Unicef is coordinating the largest public health drive in the world. The task is to vaccinate all children under the age of five during a series of vaccination rounds. Unicef has mobilised thousands of volunteers to administer and supervise the vaccination effort. Unicef has also recruited people with influence to encourage communities to have their children protected against polio. Misinformation, rumours and a frustration with the lack of other health services mean that many households, particularly in Muslim areas, resist vaccination. ..Photo: Tom Pietrasik.Patna, Bihar, India..November 16th 2006
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Tom Pietrasik
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Two children of a family working at a brick kiln in the Sadar area of Patna city. Workers in Bihar's kilns are mainly seasonal migrants from poor households. They are at particular risk of missing polio vaccination rounds and their traveling makes it imperative that they are immunised for fear of spreading the virus. In Bihar state in the May 2006 polio vaccination round there were 173,997 children immunised at brick kilns alone...India is one of only four countries in the world reported to suffer endemic polio. Only 66 new cases of the disease were reported in India in 2005. But in 2006 that figure leapt ten-fold. In September, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan wrote to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressing concern at the new polio outbreak. The Indian government, together with partners including Unicef and Rotary International has embarked on a renewed effort to eradicate polio. Overcrowded areas of poor sanitation are particularly susceptible to the virus. Focusing on the poor north Indian states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar which between them are home to more than 250 million people, Unicef is coordinating the largest public health drive in the world. The task is to vaccinate all children under the age of five during a series of vaccination rounds. Unicef has mobilised thousands of volunteers to administer and supervise the vaccination effort. Unicef has also recruited people with influence to encourage communities to have their children protected against polio. Misinformation, rumours and a frustration with the lack of other health services mean that many households, particularly in Muslim areas, resist vaccination. ..Photo: Tom Pietrasik.Patna, Bihar, India..November 16th 2006