India has successfully completed one full year without any new polio case

Child taking drops of polio

India has successfully completed a year without any new case of polio (poliomyelitis) in the country as reported by country’s health minister on Thursday.

According to World Health Organization (WHO) would soon be declared as polio-free i.e. a country where the virus is not endemic, depending on the negative result of pending samples for the disease. After that, polio will remain endemic in certain countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria.One year ago today, an 18 month old girl from a Muslim family in the West Bengal after getting fever and rashes on her body got paralysis of her legs.

“India’s success is arguably its greatest public health achievement and has provided a global opportunity to push for the end of polio,” said WHO Director-General Margaret Chan. “The Global Polio Eradication Initiative is in full emergency mode and focused on using this momentum to close this crippling disease down. Stopping polio in India required creativity, perseverance and professionalism – many of the innovations in polio eradication were sparked by the challenges in India. The lessons from India must now be adapted and implemented through emergency actions to finish polio everywhere.”

“This is a game changer in a huge way,” said Bruce Aylward, head of the World Health Organization’s global polio campaign.

“Polio can be stopped when countries combine the right elements – political will, quality immunization campaigns, and an entire nation’s determination” said Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “World leaders must continue to raise the funds needed to run the global campaign and help to ensure that no child suffers from this crippling disease ever again.”

India is among the largest donors to polio eradication through self-finances. It would contribute US$2 billion by 2013.

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