World Polio Day
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World Polio Day

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World Polio Day

World Polio Day

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World Polio Day World Polio Day Document Transcript

  • World Polio Day World Polio Day, observed on 24th October every year, was established by Rotary International over a decade ago to honor the birth of Dr. Jonas Salk, who led the first team to develop a vaccine against Poliomyelitis (polio). The campaign was initiated in the year 1988, since then the number of polio cases has declined more than 99% worldwide. This day is marked to create global awareness about the disease. Children's Poliomyelitis (polio), is a highly infectious disease caused by a virus, ranging from mild to severe infection, followed by a paralysis in some parts of the body, especially the lower limbs among children. The virus enters the human body through the mouth and multiplies in the intestines. Initial symptoms are fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, stiffness in the neck and pain in the limbs. As per studies, one in 200 infections leads to permanent paralysis (usually in the legs). Among those paralysed, 5% to 10% die when their breathing muscles become immobilized. Polio mainly affects children under 5 years of age and there is no cure for this disease. The only way to eradicate polio and protect a child for life is to prevent it from occurring and this can be done by administration of polio vaccine multiple times. Polio cases have decreased by over 99% since 1988, from an estimated 350,000 cases then, to 650 reported cases in 2011. The reduction is the result of the global effort to eradicate the disease. As per research and statistics, it states that only three countries, namely, Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan remain polio-endemic in 2012, down from more than 125 in 1988. India was once considered one of the most polio-stricken countries in the world, and even as recently as 2002, most of the cases in the world were from India. However, as per the recent data released by WHO, India has been polio-free for two years now, and this was possible only due to the robust and relentless vaccination drive and active government participation in eradicating polio from the county. Awareness played a very important role in India’s polio drive; time and again polio campaigns were issued in the public interest. India’s anti-polio action was considered massive with a lot of aid from medical, non-medical facilities and the Indian government coming together to eliminating the disease. During each of the two yearly national immunization days, 172 million children under five years in the country were given the Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) ‘do boond zindagi ki (two drops of life)’. Nearly 2.3 million vaccinators under the direction of 155,000 supervisors fan out across the country, visiting 209 million homes to administer the vaccine. Besides the two national days, six subnational supplementary polio immunization rounds are carried out in high risk states – especially Bihar and Uttar Pradesh – to ensure that immunization rounds are of best quality and reaches each and every child in the states who are at a risk of polio infection.
  • However, India shares its borders with two polio-endemic countries Bangladesh and Pakistan and the risk of polio persists till both these countries are polio free as well. The only way to prevent polio, is to ensure that all children under the age of five years are protected against polio via regular vaccination and at the same time moderates the risk of polio importation. Unlike most diseases, polio can be eradicated. Basically there are three strains of wild poliovirus, none of which can survive for long periods outside of the human body. If the virus cannot find an unvaccinated person to infect, it will die out. Type 2 wild poliovirus was eradicated in 1999. The vaccine available for polio is cheap and effective unlike drugs for other diseases that come at a very high cost. In India Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) is administered free of cost and in USA one dose of OPV can cost as little as 11 US cents. The global effort to eradicate polio is considered to be one of the largest in terms of public-private partnership, more than 20 million volunteers worldwide have collectively immunized more than 2.5 billion children over the past 20 years (WHO). India stands out as an epic example in eradicating polio as per WHO. In just one round of the national immunization days in India there are 640,000 vaccination booths, 2.3 million vaccinators, 200 million doses of vaccine, 6.3 million ice packs, 191 million homes visited and 172 million children immunized. Polio can be eradicated by following a simple policy “Every child must be vaccinated including the ones living in the most remote and deserted areas. All major modes of transport should be used to reach remote areas and difficult terrain.” A polio-free world is a dream that can become reality with commitment from all, ranging from parents to the government, to social workers and volunteers. This World Polio Day, let’s pledge our support to keep our nation polio free.