Kathmandu, March 29
The World Health Organization says that South-East Asia Region has been certified polio-free. Many public health experts had believed that the region would be the last bastion for polio eradication.
“Member countries, partners and the community themselves continue to work together to keep the crippling virus at bay. The polio program’s emphasis on innovation and reaching everyone, everywhere is being replicated by many other public health programs with impressive results,” said Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia Region.
The last case of wild poliovirus in the region was reported in West Bengal, India, where a two-year-old girl suffered polio paralysis on 13 January 2011. An intense response by the Government of India supported by WHO, UNICEF, Rotary International, and other partners ensured it remained the last case in WHO South-East Asia Region.
Every year, more than 32 million children across the Region are being given with oral polio vaccines under routine immunization and through mass polio vaccination campaigns to maintain high population immunity against polio.
“This day is a reminder of our momentous victory against polio, a reminder of our commitment to the health of our children, and a reminder of our potential, of our determination to turn impossible into possible,” the Regional Director said.