Hi everyone, Sarah again. I thought that it would be useful for you to have some background on the NID dates. As we've mentioned in our notes on the itineraries, the Indian Government doesn't give much notice for the immunisation dates and sometimes changes its minds very close to the time, which means that we have to be very flexible in our planning. We're in regular contact with our Indian agents, Rotary Polio members and the WHO who are "on the ground" in terms of the planning. We've had the following email from one contact which details the processes the government and various agencies go through:
Email from Jenny Horton, World Health Organisation – Delhi
11 April 2011
Re October/November we have no idea even if there will be a SIA in that month…. the process is:
The expert group meet and decide on the proposed months there will be campaigns and the proposed locations. They meet 3(?) times a year. They review data and propose only for the next 3-4 months. So they will say there is to be a campaign in Jan, Feb, March, April. After that the government then decide if they are going ahead with the recommendation and if so on the actual date of the campaign and the locations of the activity… (as it may be different to that recommended by the expert committee). Right now the government is only giving a few weeks notice.Like the 24th April was announced 2 days ago.
If we have no more cases of polio between now and October one cannot predict when campaigns will be. Right now we are having monthly campaigns in some areas but I would expect that to be less if there are no cases, especially once the high season comes. Nothing is guaranteed that far in advance. It is more likely there will be NIDs (national campaigns) in Jan and Feb, but again one does not know that until after the relevant expert advisory group meeting.
But we do know there are proposed activities (by the expert committee) for May and June and that is all we know- dates or whether they will actually happen is yet to be seen. There is no planning done after June.
If we have no more cases of polio in the next 3-4 months, those monthly campaigns may be start to be scaled back some….. that we will not know until that expert committee meet - then after that the government consider the recommendations and make their plans. I do not know when that expert committee meeting is due, maybe about June (?).
So bottom line, we do not know if there will be any polio activity at all in November in India, as we may well have seen our last polio case. If that is so, the monthly campaigns in places like west Bengal and UP will start to be scaled back. Nothing is predictable in this situation that far in advance. Campaigns will continue after the last case for a few years but they will be occurring less and less.
So sorry, for at least the next 3 or 4 months we will not know if there is to be any polio activity in November in India. It would be very risky to promise anything knowing we only have 1 case to date for 2011.
All who are there are aware and it is put on the National Immunization Day Calendar on the website www.polioeradication.org . It is not disseminated outside too much as the government does not always go ahead with the proposals and although they might say yes to a activity in November for example, we might find the date for an earlier activity in Oct is the end of the month and so they jump the next month and have a campaign 6 weeks after the one held. Closer to the date we will have a better idea…..
This is all driven by the epidemiology of the disease, the vaccine available, the funds available and final dates take in account festivals etc. There are funding issues with polio campaigns, vaccine is not always available and if there is no disease obviously campaigns will continue but in a slowly decreasing number. Let’s hope we have had our last case – India caused 77% of the worlds outbreaks last year.
Based on past dates, we expect that the NID's for November will fall within the start and end dates of our tour.
We'll monitor the situation and as soon as the dates are announced we'll update the itinerery as necessary - and of course, let you all know.
We'll also be in touch with local Rotary Groups to organise plenty of interesting fall-back activities in the event that the NID is not scheduled within the itinerary dates.