How India won the battle against Polio

We all know that India is a Polio free nation. The last case of polio was reported way back in 2011. But we also got to acknowledge the battle against the disease which was fought by the people and the government. The World Health Organisation declared India a polio free nation in 2014. The feat achieved was difficult to imagine but was achieved for real. The main reason behind India accomplishing this feat was well organised implementation of the government initiatives and common citizen’s active participation. Let us discuss in detail about this fight and get inspired from it.
Polio is a vaccine-preventable disease that has long been eradicated in the West. But its purging from India, a populous country with a significant number of poor and illiterate people, is particularly momentous. Even two years before the last case of polio was reported, that is in the year 2009, nearly half of the world’s total polio cases were reported from India. The country purged itself out of this disease by considering it as a public health crisis situation. The government mounted a concentrated campaign of never-before proportions, financing it with over $2.5 billion of public money as well as funds from non-profit organizations. A newer, more efficient vaccine helped too. The government launched the Pulse Polio immunization campaign in 1995, bombarding cities and towns with the message about vaccinating the most vulnerable segment – all children under the age of five. The message about the drops of oral police vaccine reached every village and hamlet in a vast country. Millions of health workers waded through rivers, climbed up hills and crossed sandy stretches to reach every family.
The struggle was real and we should thank these health workers first. The awareness part was successful. Superstar Amitabh Bachchan, who himself suffered from Polio, was announced as the campaign ambassador by the government. His mass appeal helped a lot. The publicity of Polio Sunday was done at a large scale and it was made sure that each and every family is aware of the special Sunday. There were many challenges in front of the nation: high population density and birt rate, poor sanitation and widespread diarrhoea, inaccessible terrain. But we overcame all these hurdles and emerged successful. Area wise “micro-plans “ were made and it was ensured that these micro-plans are implemented properly and these small tasks together gave a greater output which is in front of us today. Community mobilisers started talking about the need for hand-washing, hygiene and sanitation, exclusive breastfeeding up to the age of six months, diarrhoea management with zinc and oral rehydration therapy, and routine immunisation, necessary to sustain the success of polio eradication.
India’s dramatic turnaround paves the way for polio-free certification of the entire South East Asia Region of the World Health Organization. It is indeed one of those movements which can be cherished by the future generations and the nations which are still suffering from this disease can learn from this battle. At the end of the day, we all want this planet a better place to live where everyone is free from serious diseases. The polio eradication movement was one such battle which has India a better place to live than before for sure.

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