12 Children In Maharashtra Given Sanitizer Drops Instead Of Polio

A community health officer, an ASHA worker, and an anganwadi sevika were held responsible for this goof up in Yavatmal

Twelve children from Maharashtra's Yavatmal district were admitted to the government hospital after they were allegedly administered a drop of sanitizer by the health workers instead of the polio drop on January 31, while India was carrying out its Pulse Polio campaign to boost its aim to eliminate poliomyelitis.

BOOM spoke to Srikrishna Panchal, CEO, Zilla Parishad Yavatmal who said that an inquiry committee has been established to probe the incident. "The district health officer has conducted a preliminary report in which a community health officer, an ASHA worker, and an anganwadi sevika were found to be guilty of negligence. Further steps are yet to be decided," Panchal said.

Why Were The Children Admitted

In one of the villages on January 31, close to 12 children between the ages of 1-5 who were set to receive the polio drops felt feverish and started vomiting. On further inspection, the parents of the children realised that there was a goof up after a doctor intervened and said that their children should not have been called for two polio drops.

BOOM spoke to Dr. Hari Pawar, District Health Officer, Yavatmal district, to understand the turn of events. "One of the other doctors informed us after the parents said that their children were administered two shots. We spoke to the health workers in the specific village and even conducted a separate probe through which the goof-up was highlighted. The children were administered sanitizer instead of polio drops," Dr. Pawar stated.

In order to understand how such a blunder took place in a campaign that is held twice every year, the district officials are going to further conduct a detailed probe. The Pulse Polio campaign which is held twice every year is only going to be held once this year. The campaign was postponed to January 31 after the COVID-19 vaccination drive was initiated on January 16.

The children were rushed to Shri Yashwantrao Naik Government Medical College after this discovery. According to Dr. Pawar, all of the children are now stable and are playing in the wards.

Although the children's health is stable and they were only vomiting post this blunder, the incident raises questions on training provided to the frontline workers who are responsible for carrying out immunisation.

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