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India Declared Polio-Free By WHO!

India Declared Polio-Free By WHO!

After three decades of dedication, India will finally be declared polio-free by the World health Organization! It was not easy and especially with a population like India’s it certainly was a painstaking job, but they finally did it and they can now boast of being polio-free. A single new case of the polio disease has not been recorded in the last three consecutive years!

India Declared Polio-Free By WHO!

This is a huge milestone for India, after the vaccine was made available three years ago. With India’s achievement this means the entire Southeast Asian region is free of the disease, as per WHO. India’s vast population with varied languages and poor hygiene conditions in rural areas, it sure wasn’t easy to achieve this task. These were major hurdles as the disease spreads from contaminated food and water. It was found that children were the most vulnerable to this disease. This often lead to paralysis and in adverse conditions – death.

The first large scale immunization drive in India took place in 1995 where approximately 88 million children were vaccinated. Some two years later, the WHO and the government officials in India joined hands to set up a National Polio Surveillance Project, which sought to map and identify children who need to be vaccinated. By the year 2009, there were just 741 cases recorded. Even though the numbers were low for India, it accounted for nearly half the world’s polio infected population.

They then ran a targeted program aiming to eradicate the root causes of this virus. They improved sanitation and ensured routine immunization and exclusive breastfeeding. A major boost of cash was also seen from Rotary International and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation towards the cause.

One of the other major initiatives was a new vaccine that gave effective immunization against the two most dangerous forms of the polio virus: “Type 1” and “Type 3.” Finally on Feb. 25, 2012, the World Health Organization removed India from the list of countries where polio was endemic.  March 27, marks three years since the last recorded case in India, the time needed for a country to be officially classed as polio-free.

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