PULSE POLIO IMMUNISATION IN URBAN CHENNAI - AN ASSESSMENT OF AWARENESS
Dr. Swathi Padankatti*, Dr. Kuruvilla Thomas**
Department of Pediatrics, Sundaram Medical Foundation, Chennai. *, Department of Pediatrics, Sundaram Medical Foundation, Chennai. **
Introduction
Pulse Polio Immunization (PPI) was implemented in India in 1995 to achieve polio eradication by the year 2000. Nationwide publicity and awareness are provided through mass media regarding PPI and national immunization days. The success rate of PPI would depend on the awareness among the public.
Aims and Objectives
To assess the degree of awareness about PPI among doctors and general population in urban Chennai.
Subjects & Methods
An objective questionnaire was administered to 57 doctors (8 pediatricians and 49 others) working in our institution and randomly to 50 parents of children under 5 years of age attending the outpatient department. The responses were analyzed using SPSS statistical software.
Results
Less than 35% of public gave correct responses about definition of PPI, target age group, contraindications and side-effects. 54% were aware of the benefits. 78% stated that the target age group was 3-5 years.

Most doctors (over 80%) knew about the definition and target age group. Nearly 65% answered correctly about benefits and absolute contraindications. However 37% felt that even a mild viral illness was a contraindication. 45% in both groups felt that PPI should be withheld in diarrhea and mild dehydration. Doctors were aware diarrhea and VAPP following PPI; about 35% in both groups felt that PPI could produce fever and seizures.

70% in both groups knew about the last PPI programme in Chennai and agreed that PPI was being given in addition to routine immunization.

Pediatricians fared better than other doctors with all questions.
Conclusions
Public awareness continues to be limited regarding many aspects of PPI despite widespread efforts on dissipation of knowledge and despite a high coverage in urban Chennai. Doctors were aware of most details about PPI. They need to be informed that viral illness and diarrhea are not contraindications to giving PPI. A larger study is to be planned to estimate the actual awareness in the community.
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