India, which has been polio-free for over a year now, was on Saturday
taken off the list of polio endemic countries by the World Health
This announcement was made by Health Minister
Ghulam Nabi Azad at the polio summit 2012 here in the presence of Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh.
Azad said he has received a letter this
morning stating that the "WHO has taken India's name off the list of polio
endemic countries in view of the remarkable progress that we have made
during the past one year."
There were only four countries in the
WHO endemic list, including Pakistan, Nigeria and Afghanistan.
being removed from the list, India will have to remain polio free for the
next two years to achieve the polio-free status with concerted efforts and
an emergency preparedness and response plan, WHO representative in India
Natela Menabde said.
The Prime Minister, while lauding the
achievement, said the real credit goes to 23 lakh volunteers who
repeatedly vaccinated children even in the most remote areas.
said the success of the effort shows that "team work pays".
said, "This gives us hope that we can finally eradicate polio not only
from India but from the face of the earth." Menabde said it was a major
public health achievement globally.
She said it is not just an
achievement for India but a major progress for global polio eradication.
many countries have achieved this goal, every country is still under the
threat of polio as long as the virus existed, she warned.
have to keep administering vaccination and keep the immunity level of
children high, besides stepping up surveillance to ensure polio virus does
not enter the country again.
For the first time since November
2010, most of the environmental samples tested to know if the polio virus
is circulating in the air, have been found to be negative.