News / Asia

India Reaches Polio Milestone

A boy stands next to a polio awareness poster at Meerut in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh January 28, 2009. (file photo)
A boy stands next to a polio awareness poster at Meerut in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh January 28, 2009. (file photo)

India scored a victory against polio in recent days when the World Health Organization declared that the country no longer belongs to the list of polio-endemic countries. But heath workers say they are not slowing down their efforts in the battle against the disease.

There is quiet elation among health officials in India’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, that not a single case of polio has been recorded since January, last year.

Despite the progress, Rakesh Vishwakarma, officer on special duty for Uttar Pradesh at WHO, said health workers still fan out every month to administer polio drops to millions of children, including those of migrant families.

“There are big migrations from different part of the country," Vishwakarma said. "They come here on construction [sites]…..and to track those child and immunize those [children].  Its a big challenge.”

After India did not report any new case for a year, the World Health Organization took it off a list of countries where polio is endemic.

But India needs to keep up its guard for another two years, because countries are only declared polio free after three straight years without an outbreak. And, it is in India’s poorest regions such as Uttar Pradesh (UP) that health officials are on their toes to prevent any new resurgence of the disease that cripples children.

The virus had rebounded, earlier. After dropping to 134 polio cases in 2004, as many as 741 new cases were reported in 2009, raising fears that the polio virus was proving to be a difficult opponent.

Lieven Desomar, chief of the polio unit at the United Nations Children's Fund, said catching “children on the move” will be critical to achieving final success.

“The issues in 2009 are still the issues we are facing today. 19 million people a day take the train in India," Desomar said. "A lot of cases which we found outside the traditional states of UP and Bihar originated from UP and Bihar through migrant populations and mobile populations. Catching and immunizing all those children, at the borders, in buses crossing state line and so forth, that has been a major challenge.”

A victory against polio in India will be of huge significance for the global fight against the disease, said the World Health Organization’s Polio Project Manager in India, Hamid Jafari.

“Until recently, India was one of the major exporters of polio virus around the world, so several countries got re-infected with the virus that originated from India. And, once India stops transmission, then an important source of polio virus that was spreading internationally will be shut off,” said Jarafi. 

Officials like Desomar at UNICEF say the success in India will reenergize the global initiative to defeat the polio virus. But he cautioned against a sense of complacency setting in during the next two years.

“Its too premature to take out the champagne. We have to keep the bottle cold. But we have two more years before we can cork it.”

Polio has been eradicated from most countries. Three polio-endemic countries remain: Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

You May Like

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year More

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.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid