Bhubaneswar: With the World Health Organisation (WHO) is all set to declare India “polio-free” for not a single case of the crippling disease being reported in the past three years, Odisha on Monday claimed that the last case of the vaccine-preventable disease was detected some five years ago in the state.
“As per records, the last polio case in Odisha was detected in Bhattal block of Bargarh district in August 2008 and in the same year a similar case in Shanti Nagar, Bhubaneswar. The achievement was due to the massive awareness and immunization programme,” state health and family welfare secretary Pradipta Kumar Mohapatra said.
“We feel very proud that India will be accorded “polio-free” status by WHO and it is undoubtedly a major public health success for a country that until recently accounted for most of the world’s cases,” stated Mohapatra adding it was only the second time in the history that a disease was being eliminated in India through immunisation after small pox.
Not taking any chances, the state government however has decided to conduct intensified pulse polio immunization (IPPI) drive from January 19 to 21 in a bid to get every child below 5 years get vaccinated for the virus, informed the official.
The statewide drive would comprise immunisation at the booths on January 19 followed by house to house activity in which all the children shall be administered two drops of oral polio vaccine over next two days. All the departments have been instructed to mobilise their resources and work towards the goal in a coordinated manner, he stated.
According to reports, in 2009, India’s 741 polio infections accounted for nearly half the world’s total. But the figure came down to 42 the next year following a public immunization campaign in the same year.
Over the past decade, India’s polio eradication programme involved 2.3 million health workers and volunteers. More than 170 million children under the age of 5 have been vaccinated annually.
In India, the last polio case was recorded on January 13, 2011 in West Bengal.
Notably in 2012, the WHO removed India from the list of polio-endemic countries. The disease remains officially endemic in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria.