WHO declares India polio free
March 28, 2014 - New Delhi
- World Health Organization has officially declared India polio free.
- India is now one of the 11 countries in South East Asia to be certified free of polio virus. South East Asia region has also become the fourth WHO region to be declared polio free after regions of Americas (1994), Western Pacific (2000) and Europe (2002).
- India now joins Bangladesh, Bhutan, South Korea, Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand and East Timor among the countries free of polio virus.
- India embarked on the mission to get rid of polio cases in the country in 1995. The disease then used to cripple 50,000 children in the country every year. Now, there are no cases of polio in the country since January 2011.
- Until 2009, India accounted for half of all polio cases globally.
- Eradicating polio from the country is one of the top most achievements of the country in health care.
- Minister for Health and Family Welfare Ghulam Nabi Azad received the official certificate on Thursday. Speaking on the occasion, Azad expressed his happiness to overcome the challenge of eradicating polio as the burden of the polio virus is highest in the world.
- Azad credits innovation in technology like bivalent polio vaccine, adequate domestic financial resources and close monitoring of polio proramme for achieving success.
- Ghulam Nabi Azad thanked WHO, UNICEF, Rotary International, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other stakeholders who helped the country for the momentous victory.