World Polio Day 2020, 24 October
World Polio Day was initiated by Rotary International over a decade ago to commemorate the birth of Jonas Salk, who developed a vaccine against poliomyelitis. The day is celebrated every year on 24 October.
Use of inactivated poliovirus vaccine and live oral poliovirus vaccine led to the establishment of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) in 1988. That is a public-private partnership includes Rotary, the World Health Organisation (WHO), the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, UNICEF, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and governments of the countries.
Polio free India: India marks more than nine years since last polio case:
India received polio-free certification along with the entire South-East Asia Region of WHO on 27 March 2014 by WHO. January 2020 marks the nine years since the last case of polio was reported in India. This milestone, in a country once considered the most difficult to stop polio, demonstrates the importance of strong surveillance systems, intensive vaccination drive and targeted social mobilization efforts. But until the disease is eradicated, India must remain vigilant.
World polio status today
Since1988 there is a 99.9% reduction in polio cases. Now the African region is also free of wild poliovirus. Only two countries (Afghanistan and Pakistan) continue to report wild polio virus.
Poliomyelitis (polio) is a highly infectious viral disease, which mainly affects young children (under five years of age). The virus is transmitted by person-to-person spread mainly through the faecal-oral route or, less frequently, by a common vehicle (e.g. contaminated water or food) and multiplies in the intestine, from where it can enter the nervous system and can cause paralysis.
Initial symptoms are fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, stiffness of the neck and pain in the limbs. 1 in 200 infections leads to irreversible paralysis (usually in the legs). Among those paralysed, 5% to 10% die when their breathing muscles become nonfunctional.
There is no cure, but safe and effective vaccines are there. Polio can be prevented through immunization. Polio vaccine is given multiple times, almost always protects a child for life. The strategy to eradicate polio is therefore based on preventing infection by immunizing every child until transmission stops and the world is polio-free. There are two types of vaccine to prevention infection.
National Immunization Days
As Polio is eliminated from India but the risk of importation persists from remaining two countries (Pakistan and Afghanistan) where poliovirus is still circulating, the need for the country is to maintain the population immunity and sensitive surveillance till global polio eradication happens. This is maintained through National and Sub National Polio rounds along with sustained high quality polio surveillance.
As long as a single child remains infected, children in all countries are at risk of contracting polio.
“One Day. One Focus: Ending Polio”