Dr Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission hands over the ‘India Innovation Award’ to Dr P K Pradhan, Health Secretary, Government of India for the success of the Polio Eradication Programme in India.
By Shamila Sharma
NEW DELHI, INDIA, 4 May 2012: The Polio Eradication Programme has won the ‘India Innovation Awards’. Innovations in the programme have played a key role in ensuring protection against polio for children particularly in the hardest to reach and remote areas, the most vulnerable mobile and migrant community and in the high-risk areas of the country.
Innovations have helped India reach a major milestone in February 2012. The World Health Organization removed India from the list of polio endemic countries after the country surpassed a year without any fresh case of polio. India has not reported any poliovirus since the lone case in Howrah, West Bengal in January 2011.
Receiving the award, Dr P K Pradhan, Health Secretary, Government of India, lauded the strong political ownership of the programme in the country and the polio partnerships’ joint efforts in continuously innovating, improvising and strategizing to address refusals, identify missed children, the highest risk areas and community, and vaccinate 175 million children across the country, repeatedly.
Describing India’s progress in polio eradication as an “amazing achievement’, Dr Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission, said this could not have happened if we were not immunizing almost 100 per cent of the 175 million children under the age of five years, repeatedly.
Dr Ahluwali, who gave away the awards instituted by EMPI-The Indian Express, said, “the real lesson is to understand what made this happen.”
The Chairman and Jury, Mr Arun Malia, said the winners were decided after thorough and skeptical reviews and independent evaluation of innovations that have influenced the lives of people and have been implemented with involvement of all stakeholders and beneficiaries.