January 13, 2014, India was declared polio-free by the World Health Organization. Five years ago, India accounted for nearly half the new polio cases in the world, but has now gone three years without a single case of wild poliovirus. It is an amazing feat that speaks to the dedication of doctors, volunteers and many supporting organizations and foundations.
And, it can be stopped. The poliovirus can’t survive long without a human host. We’ve already eradicated Type 2 wild poliovirus. It’s gone… forever… never to permanently cripple another child again.
Consider the following timeline put together by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative:
|Year||Polio-Endemic Countries||Polio-free Countries|
|1991||90||106||Last case of wild poliovirus in the Americas|
|1994||80||116||Western Hemisphere declared polio-free|
|1997||70||126||Last case of wild poliovirus in Western Pacific Region|
|2000||20||176||Western Pacific Region declared polio-free|
|Today||3||194||India declared polio-free|
There’s still much to do, but it is possible for us to win this fight. It requires the immunization of everyone in the affected regions, many of which are in difficult areas to reach for any number of reasons. Each of the remaining countries where it is endemic face their own special challenges. However, with single doses, which can be administered orally by volunteers, cost approximately $0.11 each.
If you’d like more specific information on how India accomplished this great achievement, take a look at the following packet:
A special thanks needs to go out to Rotary, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, UNICEF, World Health Organization, the doctors, nurses and countless volunteers for all they have done in pursuit of eradicating this debilitating disease.