Thursday, March 27, 2014

India Is Now Polio-Free: WHO

India, as well as the whole of Southeast Asia, has been officially declared polio free on Thursday. The World Health Organization (WHO) certified India polio-free announcing there has been no new cases in past three years. WHO official Poonam Khetrpal Singh said at a ceremony in the capital New Delhi that this is the day they have dreamt about. India is a country with 1.2 billion people and hobbled by corruption, poor sanitation and profound poverty. Although polio can return back, but eradicating it from the entire Southeast Asian region is a landmark public health achievement, said Singh. The disease has also been eradicated in most countries. However, it is still one of the main causes in several parts of the world such as Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria. Polio is a vaccine-preventable disease and children below 5 years old are more vulnerable to it. It is spread through contaminated food and water. Its virus causes paralysis of muscles by attacking central nervous system. In 2009 India was home to about 50 percent of world's polio cases. In past seventeen years a cumulative total of 7.5 billion children were vaccinated in every home with millions of dedicated community health workers and volunteers. WHO's Regional Certification Commission said, "Ending polio in these countries forged strong systems that are now being used to advance other health priorities."

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