With WHO taking India of the ’polio-endemic list’, Indian Olympians have appealed to all parents to get their children vaccinated on time. A nation needs to remain polio-free for three consecutive years before WHO declares them totally polio-free. This move is to wipe out the disease from the root. “This Close”, a polio eradication campaign by Rotary, involves more than a dozen Indian Olympic athletes including members of the boxing, weightlifting and wrestling teams.
As per Rotary, India is on the brink of wiping out polio, all that is needed is a “strong push” to root it out once and for all and Olympics is the apt platform to spread this message. Wrestler Sushil Kumar, in a message from London, appealed to parents to get their children vaccinated on time. “In 1988, 500 children were getting affected by polio in India every day. Today, our country is reaching steadily toward eradication of polio. We need your help to win this fight,” he said. “Polio vaccine can save a child from polio paralysis. Let us ensure that children are not paralysed by giving them the vital drops,” said boxer Vijender Singh in his message.
Rotary International is a partner of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative comprising of WHO, UNICEF and Rotary. India was removed from WHO’s polio endemic list on Feb 25 this year after completing over a year without reporting any case of polio. After achieving the milestone of non-polio endemic nation, India needs to maintain the status for another two years to be certified polio-free by the WHO.
India’s anti-polio drive has been lauded all over the world. From being one of the highest polio stricken countries in the 60s and 70s the country’s efforts involving personalities like Amitabh Bachchan has really helped wipe out the disease.