India’s name was taken off the list of the world’s four polio endemic countries by the World Health Organisation (WHO) because it has been free of polio for one whole year.
The three remaining endemic countries — where the polio virus continues to infect people — are Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria.
India’s last polio case was detected in a two-year-old girl in the Panchla block of Howrah, West Bengal, on January 13.
“Till 2009, India accounted for half of the total number of polio cases being reported worldwide. It’s a remarkable achievement for us to be taken off the list,” said health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad at the Polio Summit 2012.
For the Pulse Polio programme, the Centre worked in close partnership with state governments and international groups such as the WHO, UNICEF and Rotary International.
Vaccination of children in Bihar and UP, where polio infection refused to stop, crossed 99% last year. As much as 27 % of the global expenditure on polio eradication has come from India’s domestic resources.
“It is a matter of satisfaction that we have completed one year without any single new case of polio being reported from anywhere in the country. This gives us hope that we can finally eradicate polio not only from India but from the face of the entire mother earth. The success of our efforts shows that teamwork pays,” said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.