India Now Officially A Polio Free Country
This week marked three years to the day the last polio incident was reported in India – the official requirement of being marked as a Polio free country by the World Health Organisation.
On the same day in 2011, a two-year old girl suffered polio paralysis in Howrah district of West Bengal. Since then, India has not reported any new cases of wild poliovirus.
Being declared polio-free is a tremendous achievement for India, which reported 200,000 new cases in 1988, and as recently as 2009 still reported 741 cases, more than any other country in the world according to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.
UNICEF’s Goodwill Ambassador for Polio eradication for almost a decade, Amitabh is delighted with the news that India has officially been declared polio free by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
“As the brand ambassador for the United Nations in the fight for polio eradication, I’m very happy and proud that India has been declared a polio-free country. I wish to applaud the efforts of the various volunteers and medical workers who have persevered tirelessly and charitably to enable India to be eradicated of the disease,” Bachchan said.
On the website of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which is inexplicably called Impatient Optimists, Gates wrote: “As of today, India has gone three years without a single case of wild poliovirus, which means it’s now officially ‘polio-free’. India’s achievement is one of the most impressive accomplishments in global health, ever.”
He added: “India’s victory galvanized the global health community to commit to achieving a polio-free world by 2018. Now, we only have 3 more countries to go, down from 125 in 1988.”