Good News: India Is Polio-Free
Multiple sources are reporting a welcome development. India is well on track to be declared officially free of polio:
CHANDIGARH: India will complete three years without any polio case on Monday. The last polio case was reported on January 13, 2011 from West Bengal. Three years is the gestation period for the WHO to declare a country polio-free. Although the three year period finishes today, the WHO certification will take a month or so.
RK Saboo, founding member of the Polioplus programme, said, “We have achieved this milestone after perseverance and consistent efforts. However, we will not get complacent. The polio drops will be replaced by the injectable IPV (inactivated polio vaccine) next year in the high risk states.” As IPV is not a ‘live’ vaccine and is an intramuscular injection it carries no risk of vaccine-associated polio paralysis, he said here on Sunday.
If India is actually free of polio it leaves only a handful of countries in which the disease, which when I was a kid was responsible for the paralysis or deaths of a half million people worldwide every year, continues to prevail. That includes, notably, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria, Tajikistan, the Russian Federation, Angola, Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and a few other places, particularly where there is cultural resistance to vaccination.
A great achievement. .