India celebrating three years polio-free

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Polio vaccination (WHO@PHOTO)

India is marking three years since its last polio case was reported.

Pending final clearance of December and January laboratory samples from India, the World Health Organization is expected to certify the entire South-East Asia Region as polio-free in March.

With a densely concentrated population of more than one billion people, India was once considered, by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the most challenging place on earth to end polio.

WHO says India's success proves the polio virus can be eliminated even under the most complex circumstances.

Oliver Rosenbauer from the Global Polio Eradication Initiative says lessons from India's success will provide inspiration and technical guidance for eliminating polio in the three endemic countries: Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria.

"India has maintained high vaccination coverage. It continues to make sure all children are fully protected against polio and also reaching out with other vaccines and that's really key to making sure that it hasn't been re-infected. There are still countries which are considered to be endemic to polio and those countries are Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan and as populations spread from these countries they can bring the virus with them and other countries can become re-infected and so until these last three endemic countries finish the job as well, countries like India need to make sure all their children continue to be vaccinated so that if the country is re-infected you don't have an outbreak. You have a population that is fully protected against this virus."

In 2013 a total of 372 wild polio cases were reported globally.

The largest outbreak was in Somalia where 183 cases were reported.

Patrick Maigua, United Nations, Geneva.

Duration 1.53″

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