Polio curbed in India, National Center for Disease Control Reports

July 18, 2014

By Christy Craig

Earlier this year, India celebrated an important milestone in public health: 3 years without a single reported case of polio. This monumental achievement - by a country that in 2009 reported half of the world's total polio cases - has since led to a WHO Polio-Free certification for the South-East Asia Region.

The World Health Organization, Rotary International, UNICEF, and the Government of India each had integral roles in the eradication effort, with IANPHI Member India NCDC leading on the ground. Through financial support from the US, assistance from global public health agencies and inter-governmental organizations, and cooperation within its own borders, India’s NCDC has conducted national polio vaccination campaigns since 1995. The campaigns have taken a unique and successful approach by focusing on migrant, transitional populations. These large groups are often missed in traditional community immunization campaigns, which are conducted through door-to-door vaccinations. By boarding trains, visiting market places, and covering migrant settlements, India’s innovative vaccination campaigns were able to reach an additional 4.5 million children with the life-saving vaccine.

In addition to its innovative national polio immunization campaigns, the India NCDC has been committed to developing a strong surveillance system to monitor polio in India, and prevent the virus from entering the country's borders. The country's polio eradication program "is a model of excellence for other public health initiatives in India and for global health interventions as a whole," explains Dr. Kapil Goel (EIS Officer). As India's NCDC celebrates this accomplishment, they now turn to support other countries still working towards polio eradication, and play an important role in the "polio end-game strategy". 

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