With India marking its first year without polio cases, the health ministry has called upon the nation to ensure regular polio vaccinations of children to achieve the milestone of making India polio-free.
Talking to reporters after announcing a two-day summit on polio, Health Ministry Additional Secretary Anuradha Gupta said the summit will focus on future strategy formulation for the fight against polio.
“We need to ensure that the momentum for immunisation is maintained,” Gupta said.
She highlighted that each round of polio vaccination involves administering drops to over 17 crore children.
Calling it a “proud moment”, former Rotary International president Rajendra K. Saboo recalled how the announcement of India being polio free at a recent international conference of Rotary received a standing ovation.
“The world map was shown during the presentation, where polio endemic regions were marked with red dot… seeing that red dot missing from India for the first time, every Indian had tears in their eyes, and the world Rotary leaders gave a standing ovation,” Saboo said.
Rotary International has been one of the leading partners of polio eradication initiatives world over.
Trustee of International PolioPlus committee of Rotary Ashok Mahajan meanwhile said the efforts of involving religious leaders in the campaign helped a great deal.
India’s last polio case was reported on January 13, 2011 from West Bengal. The country reported 42 polio cases in 2010 and 741 in 2009.
In 1995, India reported 50,000 polio cases.