India Taken Off WHO Polio List
01 Mar, 2012 - 05:49am
Indian Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad announced earlier this week that the country has been declared polio-free by the World Health Organization (WHO). This pronouncement was made after no new polio cases were registered throughout the country for a period of twelve months, and is being considered a major medical milestone in the fight against polio.
Currently, only Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan are the only three remaining countries with cases of endemic polio. However, while India has been removed from the list, the WHO requires two more years of non-incidents for the country to be permanently declared polio-free.
The country’s prime minister, Manmohan Singh, commended the more than 230,000 volunteers from the Indian government, the WHO, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and Rotary International, who spread out across the India in an effort to ensure that every child in the country received vaccination. He likewise added that after over a decade and billions of dollars that have gone into the fight against polio, India’s success is not only proof that a united team effort pays off, but is evidence of the hope that the disease can and will be stamped out in the future.
However, despite what he considers to be a great achievement, Singh said that the fight must go on, adding that his government will step up efforts to guarantee that all Indian children, regardless of stature of birth, will have the same access to general health care and vaccination. The issues of better public information dissemination and education, access to clean and potable drinking water, food, and nutrition.
All of these, Singh said, go hand in hand in ensuring each and every citizen’s “overall good health and longevity.”