My good friend, the humble house to house vaccinator

Sagarika Kamath, Rajesh Kamath, Brayal D'souza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The corresponding author served with the WHO between March 2011 and July 2013 in polio eradicationas an Acute Flaccid Paralysis(AFP) Surveillance Medical Officer(SMO) in Supaul district of Bihar state of India. Going by experience and official data, this part of India is among the most impoverished areas in the world. The public healthcare system is rudimentary and grossly inadequate. The polio eradication program is one of the few bright spots in terms of operational efficiency. The challenges to mass immunisation included poor infrastructure(in terms of roads, electricity, and trained manpower), wide spreadilliteracy, superstition, chronic poverty, malnutrition and extremes of weather. Supaul, with a population of 2.2 million, had about 1800 vaccinators inapproximately 900 two-woman teams. The money that was paid to them was officially dubbed an honorarium, which might seem to imply that the recipient was never in any real need of it. But that was obviously not the case. A vexingissue that was faced all through was that of delayed payments to vaccinatorsand supervisors, which had a negative impact on the morale of the vaccinators and their supervisors. Arriving at trainings to purvey dismal attendance and disappointed faces was a most unpleasant task for the corresponding author. India was certified polio free by the WHO in January 2014. A good part of the credit for that goes to our very good friend, the humble vaccinator, the single most valuable human asset in the entire Global Polio Eradication Initiative. We salute her indomitable spirit.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)807-808
Number of pages2
JournalPakistan Journal of Medical and Health Sciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 01-04-2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)


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