India has been taken off a World health Organisation list of polio endemic countries. Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad announced that India was off the list to a standing ovation at the Polio Summit 2012 that was held in New Delhi.
The decision to take India off the list was taken after most environmental samples for the virus tested negative.
However Azad warned that India’s work in this regard was not yet done. “We have won the battle but we have not won the war. Let us rededicate ourselves and resolve to continue our efforts with the same vigor so that India can be declared polio free by 2014″, he said.
India’s success leaves just three countries where polio is still endemic. When India was polio-ravaged, it was one of the four countries – along with Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria – to be known by the acronym PAIN.
India’s success in fighting polio, which has cost almost $2 billion and several nationwide immunisation programs, has been credited to decades of work by the Indian government, Rotary International, along with the US government-funded Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF.