Jamshedpur: The war against polio is broadly over in the world, a landmark achievement for global public health and the worldwide effort to eradicate polio.
India, which once had the highest number of polio cases in the world, is now polio-free, an achievement the World Health Organization (WHO) certified on March 27, 2014, said Manjit Sawhney, International Rotary Member, South East Asian Region.
“This is a momentous victory for the millions of health workers who have worked to eradicate polio from the region,” added Sawhney.
Sawhney also sounded a word of caution to maintain high vigilance against importation of polio. “Until polio is globally eradicated, all countries are at risk and the region’s polio-free status remains fragile.
High immunization coverage can prevent an imported virus from finding an under-immunized, susceptible population,” he added. Sawhney further said that the tireless work and the steadfast determination of so many around the world have brought us to this monumental milestone today, because with committed people, volunteers, communities and cooperation comes real change.
Talking to media-persons before the unveiling of the Rotary Clock tower on the occasion of India being declared polio free, Dr. P Narayana Vice-Chairman, India National Polio Plus Committee from Bangalore said that in 1980s Roatary International dreamt about eradicating polio in twenty years and took up the challenge of wiping out polio by 2000.
It took 11 more years. India was certified as Polio-free only after 3 years of no polio cases reported.
Narayana added that WHO Southeast Asia region was certified polio-free by an independent commission under the WHO certification process on March 27. This is the fourth of six WHO Regions to be certified and with this step, 80 per cent of the world’s population now lives in polio-free regions.
Yet the world waits for Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria to become polio free to rejoice over its victory world-wide.
Narayana further said that with an overextended framework for vulnerable areas, a comprehensive and long-term strategy has been developed to ensure a polio-free world by 2018.
Gyan Taneja, President of Rotary Club of Jamshedpur said that to commemorate the outstanding landmark, we have installed a clock tower that will remind us now that we need not fear the dreaded polio.
The clock tower is first of its kind in the world to be erected in Jamshedpur. On the occasion Jogesh Gambhir, Dr. Bharat, Rajiv Modi and others were present.