India Celebrates Victory Over Polio
Completing three full years without reporting any case of polio, India celebrated a landmark achievement in public health on 11 February 2014 – the victory over polio.
India has not reported any case of polio since a two-year old girl got polio paralysis on 13 January 2011 in Howrah district of West Bengal. India’s victory over polio paves the way for polio-free certification of the South East Asia region of WHO in March end.
This is an unprecedented progress for a country, which reported more than half the global polio cases until the year 2009. Experts always predicted India would be the last to stop polio as its endemic pockets in parts of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar were among the most difficult places in the world for polio eradication.
India overcame huge challenges, with a strong commitment that matched $ 2 billion allocation over the years to stop polio. Implementing innovative strategies, the programme reaches an incredible 99 per cent coverage in polio campaigns, ensuring every child, even in the remotest corner of the country is protected against polio.
India introduced the oral polio vaccine in 1985 in the Universal Immunisation Programme in the backdrop of over 200,000 cases of polio annually (as per estimates of the Indian Academy of Pediatrics). In 1995, the first national polio immunization campaign was held; since then two national and multiple sub-national campaigns are rolled out every year for children up to 5 years of age.
In each national polio campaign, 2.3 million lakh vaccinators, led by 155,000 upervisors, visit 209 million households to immunize 170 million children up to the age of 5 years.
To immunize children on the move, transit vaccinators are positioned at bus stands, train stations, on trains, market places and important road intersections. Nearly 10 million children are immunized by the transit teams in each polio campaign, of them 100,000 on trains.
Focusing on the migrant population, the people on the move in search of livelihood who miss polio immunization in view of their transient nature, the programme covers 70,000 brick kilns and 38,000 construction sites. Nearly 4.5 million children are immunized in the high-risk migrant settlements in each polio campaign.
Since the start of the polio campaigns in 1995, as many as 131 polio campaigns have been held in India till date, in which 12.1 billion doses of polio vaccines have been administered.
The celebration to commemorate India’s triumph over polio was addressed by President of India Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, World Health Organization Dr Margaret Chan, Rotary International President Ron D Burton and UNICEF Representative Louis-Georges Arsenault. All the speakers lauded India’s stupendous success and reiterated the need for India to stay vigilant in view of the huge risk of poliovirus importation until the crippling disease is eradicated globally.
Representatives of various other partners and donors, and ambassadors of various countries, which supported the India’s fight against polio, joined the celebration.
Over 2,000 representatives from the field – the vaccinators, community mobilisers of the UNICEF-led Social Mobilization Network, the surveillance medical officers of WHO, and the health department officials – who were undeniably the key players in India’s proud story of victory over polio, were present at the celebration.
Polio Eradication Programme Gets Innovations Award
Polio: no place too far
More Photo Essays
Amitabh Bachchan- Two drops of Polio PSA
Two Drops of Polio Saves your Child's Life
Community Mobilisers For Polio: Social Mobilisation Network
Reaching the Unreached With Polio Vaccination
Developing advocates on TV and radio - towards polio eradication
Polio eradication efforts strengthened during religious occasions
Traditional healers become influencers in Bareilly
Reaching Out To Mobile Populations
Two states and 100 blocks away from polio-free India
Mother- Baby get-togethers
Cricket Champs Advocate to Bowl out Polio
Imam calls for polio to be used as a platform to address other diseases
Profile of a Special Influencer
“May Allah bless us … and may polio be eradicated from the world…”
Winning against polio with Razda Begum
Mecca-bound Pilgrims call for end of Polio
Moradabad celebrates win against Polio with Hockey
Indian cricket team present "Bowl Out Polio" bat to UP Chief Minister
Pilgrims visit Ghazi Baba’s dargah as their children get polio drops
Stories From the Field
(PDF documents require Acrobat Reader to view.)
Polio Communication Updates
Media Fact File June 2013
India Communication Update September 2010