General Article India shows the way for other polio-endemic nations

Topic Selected: Global Health
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After India’s unexpected feat of freeing itself from polio, the target to eradicate the debilitating disease from the world, set in 1988, seems possible.


By Kundan Pandey


When the WHO South East Asia region receives the certificate for being polio free on Thursday, it would be an accomplishment that until a few years ago was considered a pipe dream – mainly because of the large number of cases that continued to be reported from India.

As recently as 2009, India accounted for 741 out of the total 1,604 polio cases recorded across the world. While some experts believed that India would be the last country to be declared polio free, others said it was a task that could never be accomplished.

Eradication of the disease from India appeared to be the toughest part of the global campaign against the disease. There were several reasons for it: high density of population in India, poor sanitation, high birth rate, low rate of routine immunisation, widespread diarrhoea, difficult terrain,...

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