India to checkmate cross-border polio threat

Monday, November 18, 2013

India is all set to be officially certified polio-free by World Health Organisation (WHO) in about 60 days from now, on January 14 to be precise. Experts are focusing on the end-game strategy.

Even as India gears up to receive the WHO certification, neighbour Pakistan is still polio endemic with already 59 cases reported from there this year. Amid fears that the polio virus may cross borders, an alert message has been sent out by the Rotary International’s India National Polio Plus Committee that “it is not over until it is over.”

At a brainstorming Polio Plus orientation and planning workshop conducted in Madurai on Sunday, public health officials, polio surveillance officers and Rotary Club members of Rotary International District 3000 sensitised the delegates on why Pakistan remained a potential threat even though India had no polio case since January 13, 2011. The last case was reported from Howrah district in West Bengal. “India is not a polio-endemic country any more, but since we share a long border with Pakistan, there are chances that the virus may cross the border. Routine immunisation of our children is the only way out,” Patibantla Sambasiva Rao, Member, India National Polio Plus Committee, cautioned.

Source: The Hindu (link opens in a new window)

Health Care
infectious diseases, vaccines