India's Polio Eradication Initiative shows positive results

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
No polio seen in India for one year
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According to the World Health Organization, India has not had a case of polio for one year. The finding is significant because India has been one of the most difficult regions to eradicate the disease.

In 1998 the government in India, along with the World Health Organization (WHO) has been trying to eradicate polio, as part of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.

According to the World Health Organization, “India was once recognized as the epicenter of polio.”

One of the reasons polio has been so difficult to control and India is because of their large population, poor health system and large number of migrants. Sanitation is sided as another factor that contributes to polio, which is an infectious viral disease that can lead to partial and even complete paralysis.

The milestone achievement is from intensive efforts at immunization and collaboration. In 1997, India also launched their National Polio Surveillance Project

The last case of polio seen in India occurred in a two- year old girl, in January, 2011.

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India’s success is viewed by the WHO as proof that polio could be completely eliminated, even under difficult circumstances.

Until polio is eradicated globally, the WHO warns that India should remain vigilant, continuing immunization efforts and surveillance efforts. Pakistan and Afghanistan have both experienced increases in the disease.

Other areas that continue to be affected include Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Nigeria.

India’s intensive effort at eliminating the infectious disease is expected to save thousands of children from paralysis and death annually.

Today India was praised by global leaders. WHO Director-General Margaret Chan said, "India’s success is arguably its greatest public health achievement and has provided a global opportunity to push for the end of polio.” The achievement comes from what Chan describes as “creativity, perseverance and professionalism.”

Source:
WHO
“India records one year without polio cases”
News Release

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