Certified polio-free in 2014, India remains watchful

Back in March 2014, India was officially declared ‘Polio Free’ nation by the World Health Organization (WHO). Since 2016, children in India have not been vaccinated against type 2 Poliovirus. Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria are still battling against the disease.

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Certified polio-free in 2014, India remains watchful
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Poliomyelitis often called Polio is a highly contagious viral infection that affects the humane nervous system. Sometimes this infection may lead to paralysis, breathing problems or even death. It spreads through polluted water, food, or coming in contact with an infected person.

The World Health Organization has set a target of achieving the complete eradication of Polio by 2018. On Wednesday, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said “India was certified polio-free on 27 March 2014 and continues to be so. But India continues to be vigilant against all three types of polioviruses.”

Nevertheless, some bivalent oral polio vaccines amounting 1.5 lakh vials were found to be “contaminated” and administered to the children in three states Maharashtra, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh. The virus was first found in the stool samples of two children out of hundreds to whom the vaccine was administered.

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The ministry reports that the bivalent oral polio, vaccine supplied by a particular manufacturer, had some quality issues. Vaccines were manufactured by Bio-Med pharmaceutical firm of Ghaziabad which doesn’t have a WHO pre-qualification certification. Union Health Ministry, on Wednesday, ordered an inquiry into the Type-2 poliovirus infection.

This is not the first incident in India. In 2016, WHO found a “low-level threat” in polio vaccine in Hyderabad and advised the public that this would not affect India’s polio-free status.

To become a “Polio free” nation, the government needs to take a few more stringent steps. First, the government needs to take immediate and comprehensive action against the culprit once the investigation is done. Moreover, the government also needs to bring a mechanism to continuously monitor the samples of vaccine and stool more actively at regular intervals.

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Certified polio-free in 2014, India remains watchful
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Certified polio-free in 2014, India remains watchful
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Back in March 2014, India was officially declared ‘Polio Free’ nation by the World Health Organization (WHO). Since 2016, children in India have not been vaccinated against type 2 Poliovirus. Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria are still battling against the disease.
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The Policy Times
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