India reaches milestone in fight against polio

BY newsdesk  January 13, 2014 at 3:55 PM EDT

India’s vaccination efforts against the polio virus has seen success. The country hasn’t had a reported case of polio in three years. Image by Flickr user Gates Foundation

After three years without a reported case of polio, India has hit a milestone in its battle against the crippling disease, the BBC reports. The achievement speaks to India’s public health program of massive and sustained immunization.The World Health Organization removed India from its list of polio-endemic countries in 2012.

“This monumental milestone was possible due to unwavering political will at the highest level, commitment of adequate financial resources, technological innovation … and the tireless efforts of millions of workers including more than 23 lakh (2.3 million) vaccinators,” Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad told the BBC.

Despite India’s success, health experts note that Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria are still on WHO’s polio-endemic countries and fear resurgence of polio in other parts of the world. In Pakistan, religious extremists and public indifference have hampered the country’s efforts to eradicate the virus.