Polio Eradication

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 

From 200,000 to Zero - The Journey to Polio Free India

Press Release

Suresh Raina launches immunization awareness campaign with youth, children

Amitabh Bachchan conferred Polio Eradication Champion award

GOI Press Release: One Year of Polio Free India

Amitabh Bachchan launches new Polio Communication Campaign

UNICEF Ambassador Fernando Alonso Promotes Polio Eradication

Watch UNICEF Polio Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan Message

Photo Essays

The Bulawa Toli
Bulawa toli is a group of young volunteers who mobilise community for polio immunisation on the polio booth day. These these young advocates run house-to-house shouting slogans and blowing whistles to draw attention of the children and parents to the polio booth.

  Eradicating Polio
UNICEF is working with the district health department and Dargah Committee in district Bahraich of Uttar Pradesh to ensure that every child coming to the Mela is immunized and large scale awareness about the polio prevention is raised..

Polio: no place too far
This photo feature demonstrates the enormous challenge in reaching children in the high risk areas of Bihar. The trip to Sunita, a polio-affected child in Saharsa in the Kosi river area, was undertaken by SMNet Bihar team members.

Fighting Polio
In 2009, 66 per cent of polio cases nationally occurred in children under two years of age. About 230,000 children are born each month in Bihar, and in U.P., over 400,000 children are born each month

More Photo Essays


Amitabh Bachchan- Two drops of Polio PSA

Two Drops of Polio Saves your Child's Life

Two Drops for Protection- Every Child, Every Time

Tracking of Nomads for Polio Immunisation

Reaching the Unreached


Community Mobilisers For Polio: Social Mobilisation Network

Reaching the Unreached With Polio Vaccination

Developing advocates on TV and radio - towards polio eradication

More Videos

Real Lives

Polio eradication efforts strengthened during religious occasions
Polio Advocacy week was held in Patna, Bihar from February 27 – March 4, 2010 during hafta-e-rehmat (The Blessing Week) to overcome resistance towards repeated rounds of polio immunisation and other communication issues surrounding Polio Eradication.

Traditional healers become influencers in Bareilly
Traditional healers play an important role in influencing community health decisions and also provide invaluable access to primary health care in underserved areas

Reaching Out To Mobile Populations
With over 15% of polio cases in 2009 emerging from migrant communities, reaching these communities remains a crucial link to securing eradication in India

Two states and 100 blocks away from polio-free India
UNICEF India Representative, Ms. Karin Hulshof in conversation with Indian Association of Parliamentarians on Population and Development (IAPPD) (India) talks about the Polio Eradication Initiative in India

Mother- Baby get-togethers
Held in all the SMNet blocks of Meerut district, prior to each round of the polio immunization drive, these meetings educate pregnant women on early and exclusive breastfeeding and also encourage lactating mothers to have their babies weighed.

Cricket Champs Advocate to Bowl out Polio
Cricket aces championed the cause of polio eradication in Lucknow on the eve of the Ranji Trophy match between Uttar Pradesh and Delhi on November 23, 2009.

Imam calls for polio to be used as a platform to address other diseases
Qasmi has been at the forefront of the fight against polio for the past seventeen years, ever since he moved to Patna city from Madhubani district.

Profile of a Special Influencer
Over the past four years, Nadeem has been a permanent fixture at the polio booths during the polio rounds in Kandhla block of Muzzafarnagar

“May Allah bless us … and may polio be eradicated from the world…”
“May Allah bless us and our children with good health…...and may polio and other dreadful diseases be eradicated from the world. We will pray at Makkah Mukarramah for this”, said Hazrat Syed Shah Shamim Munawi, Sazada-Nashin-Khan-Ka-Munamiya of Patna city

Winning against polio with Razda Begum
Razda Begum sits with her decorated white chart paper which has the Mohallah Sufi Khan in Farrukhabad mapped out with its masjids (mosques), public facilities, the “grids” within the area and the “influencers” who work for the polio eradication programme

Mecca-bound Pilgrims call for end of Polio
Javed Mian, 65, is a small-time businessman in the Sabzi Bagh locality of Patna, the capital city of the eastern Indian state of Bihar.

Moradabad celebrates win against Polio with Hockey
It was not only time for celebration but also time for re-dedication to the cause of polio eradication as former hockey Olympians Zafar Iqbal and Dhanraj Pillai, among others, signed a pledge for polio eradication

Babille Story
Irene Babille is a student at the American International School in New Delhi. Earlier this year, she participated in India’s National Polio Eradication Programme, as part of her schools’ community outreach effort...

Indian cricket team present "Bowl Out Polio" bat to UP Chief Minister
Post-match and victory, Indian cricket team player R.P. Singh was called out to receive a special award from Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Ms. Mayawati in Kanpur.

Pilgrims visit Ghazi Baba’s dargah as their children get polio drops
Ghazi Baba has as many ways of granting wishes as people have of asking. Those who have asked for children have got them; those looking for healing have been healed.





Polio Communication Updates

Media Fact File June 2013

The Polio Eradication Mobiliser June 2013 -English

The Polio Eradication Mobiliser June 2013 -Hindi

Media Fact File May 2013

The Polio Eradication Mobiliser April 2013 -English

The Polio Eradication Mobiliser April 2013 -Hindi

Media Fact File April 2013

Media Fact File March 2013

The Polio Eradication Mobiliser February 2013 -English

The Polio Eradication Mobiliser February 2013 -Hindi

The Polio Eradication Mobiliser January 2013 -English

The Polio Eradication Mobiliser January 2013 -Hindi

Media Fact File January 2013

The Polio Eradication Mobiliser October 2012 -English

The Polio Eradication Mobiliser October 2012 -Hindi

India Polio Communication Update March 2012

Media Fact File September 2012

The Polio Eradication Mobiliser September 2012 -English

The Polio Eradication Mobiliser September 2012 -Hindi

Media Fact File August 2012

Media Fact File July 2012

Media Fact File June 2012

Media Fact File May 2012

India Polio Communication Update March 2012

The Polio Eradication Mobiliser October 2011

The Polio Eradication Mobiliser September 2011

India Communication Update July 2011

The Polio Eradication Mobiliser July 2011

Media Fact File May 2011

India Communication Update May 2011

India Communication Update September 2010

India Communication Update March 2010

India Communication Update December 2009

The Under-Served Strategy Update November 2009

India Communication Update October 2009

The Under-Served Strategy Update September 2009

India Communication Update August 2009

The Under-Served Strategy Update July 2009

India Communication Update June 2009

The Under-Served Strategy Update May 2009

India Communication Update April 2009

India Communication Update January 2009

India Communication Update August 2008

India Communication Update June 2008

India Communication Update April 2008

India Communication Update February 2008

India Communication Update December 2007

India Communication Update October 2007

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