Striving for a polio-free world (Opinion)
- World Health Organisation (WHO) has certified the 11-nation South-East Asia Region, including India as polio-free which is a beacon of hope.
- The nations worldwide were committed to eradicating polio in 1988 & aimed to achieve the same by 2000, but slipped repeatedly. The approved strategic plan 2013 aims to stop transmission of all naturally-occurring ‘wild’ polio viruses by end of this year and completely eradicate polio by 2018.
- Polio cases worldwide (2013) recorded 82% increase from the previous year. The polio-endemic countries of Afghanistan and Nigeria halved the number of polio cases last year, Pakistan registered 60 % increase igniting a situation of widespread polio transmission.
- Virus from Pakistan have reared their ugly head in the middle east, & those from Nigeria have surfaced in the Horn of African Region.
- Vaccination should be made compulsory for travellers from polio-infected areas. India has made it mandatory for outsiders to produce a certificate of oral polio vaccine.
- In 2009, 50% of polio cases were in India but India’s last polio case was 2 years later, paving the way for its polio-free certification. Americas, Western Pacific and Europe have long received such certification, with 4 out of 5 children in the world now live in countries that have eliminated polio.
- Horn of Africa