Its been three years since the last new polio case was reported and diagnosed in India, bringing the country one giant leap closer towards eradicating polio altogether.
The Washington Post article, “India has eradicated Polio” talks how India has successfully gone from reporting 741 new cases of polio in 2009 to zero each year since 2011. Al Jazeera explains how the battle to rid the country of polio has been one of India’s public health success stories which went full throttle in the mid-90s courtesy of a government, UN and celebrity-backed public awareness campaign as well as the on-the-ground efforts of 2.4 million volunteers and more than 150,000 community workers, who help in carrying out the immunisation programme every year.
It is expected that the World Health Organization will declare India polio free in March this year. RESET’s previous article on Polio mentioned that the fight against polio in India, however, is not over and the government have committed themselves to rapid response measures against the import of the disease into India from other countries, largely through the migration of vulnerable populations, where the biggest risk of the reintroduction of the disease into the country is possible. This is especially important given that two of the three remaining polio endemic countries, Pakistan and Afghanistan, are nearby to India (the other polio endemic country on the list is Nigeria).
India certainly has reason to be proud but the fight is still not over. Continuous measures will help ensure that we never again face the nightmare scenario of 1981 where the number of reported polio cases that year was, alarmingly, 38,090.