News / Health

    India Achieves Milestone in Global Polio Eradication

    U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius administers polio vaccine to a child in New Delhi, India, January 13, 2012.
    U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius administers polio vaccine to a child in New Delhi, India, January 13, 2012.
    Vidushi Sinha

    As India marks an important milestone in its fight against polio, international health experts say that it is too soon to declare victory. Mass vaccination has eradicated the crippling disease in many parts of the world. But polio transmission and sudden outbreaks remain a challenge in large regions of the Indian subcontinent, including Pakistan and Afghanistan, as well as in west and central Africa.

    International reaction

    To help India celebrate one year since its last reported case of polio, U.S. Health Secretary, Dr. Kathleen Sebelius, came to administer oral polio vaccine to Indian children. Health officials see the polio-free anniversary as a turning point in the global polio eradication program.


    The number of polio cases reported in India dropped from 741 in 2009 to only 42 in 2010, and just one case was reported in 2011.

    "What we are seeing today after 12 months without a child paralyzed by polio is that proof-positive that polio can be eradicated," said The World Health Organization’s Assistant Director-General, Dr. Bruce Aylward, who leads the group's global polio eradication program. "We can overcome the biological challenges, we can overcome the operational challenges to ensuring this disease is eradicated once and for all."

    Out of list

    In the coming weeks, India will be removed from the WHO's list of countries where polio is endemic, unless a new or previously unreported case emerges. Dr. Aylward says polio endemic countries can take lessons from the strategies that worked in India.

    ''Northern Nigeria and Pakistan are now the key to completing global eradication," said Dr. Aylward. "The challenge now, the priority now is applying the same lessons, the same ingenuity, the same innovation, the same accountability framework, the same kind of perseverance that we saw in India to get the job finished in those two countries.''

    Dr. Neeraj Mistry, the managing director at the Sabin Vaccine Institute says India’s success against its unique public health challenge is critically important to the global eradication effort.

    “In India they worked with imams to actually put out the messages - that [produced] greater local acceptance and cultural acceptance of these health interventions," said Dr. Mistry."Similarly, in other parts of the world, we can find community leaders that maybe in the form of traditional healers or even faith-based leaders in communities, that will be able to put out the messages that give greater cultural acceptance to such interventions.”

    Danger

    Polio, which can be prevented only by immunization, is caused by the wild polio virus, which attacks the central nervous system and can cause paralysis, muscular atrophy, and permanent deformity. It can also cause death. It infects mostly children living in unsanitary conditions. Experts say as long as even one child is infected there is a danger of others contracting the debilitating infection.

    You May Like

    Vietnam Urges US to Lift Lethal Weapons Ban Amid S. China Sea Tensions

    US president’s upcoming visit to Vietnam underscores strength of relationship, and lifting embargo would reflect that trust, ambassador says

    Are US Schools Turning a Blind Eye to Radical Qatari Preachers?

    Parade of radical Islamist clerics using mosque at Qatar’s Education City draws mounting criticism for American universities that maintain satellite branches there

    Why Islamic State Is Down But Not Out

    Despite loss of territory, group’s ferocious attacks over past three months seen as testimony to its continued durability and resourcefulness

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroadi
    X
    May 02, 2016 1:36 PM
    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora