13th January 2014 , India : With no case of polio reported since the last three years India is all set to be declared polio today. “The last polio case in India was reported on January 13, 2011 from the state of West Bengal . “
For India once thought to be one of the most difficult nations to achieve polio control (on account of severe resistance to the polio drops from various pockets ) the feat marks a remarkable historical landmark for public health .The dream to have a “Polio Free India” clearly shows the potential of what can be achieved in the public health arena if there is a collective will from public health physicians, clinicians, NGO’s , religious leaders ,the press ,politicians and policy makers.
Being declared polio free officially would mean that any further cases of polio detected would be due to re-infection imported from outside. And this is where the crux of the matter remains. Pakistan and Afghanistan India’s two north-west neighbors continue to report high number of cases . Figure Below
Remaining “Polio-free” will be the biggest challenge for India . Political will and strategies to prevent importing the disease as well as intense continued surveillance for all the time till these nations too achieve polio free status is important. It is easy to loose the momentum and go slack on surveillance once the notion of the goal being achieved set in. .The problems in global polio eradication is as much social , political and cultural as is scientific. The Executive Board of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative is supposed to meet from 20th to 25th January and concrete steps to this direction is something to look forward for India.
Read More about Polio Eradication : Status and Challenges (Click : Open Access )
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