More than 170 Million Indian Children Receive Polio Vaccination

In what was billed as a major effort to eradicate polio from India, more than 170 million children under five were vaccinated against polio over a three day period earlier this month. Simultaneously, another 80 million children in 24 African nations were also vaccinated.

The goal is to eradicate polio from India by the end of 2005.

So far this year, India has reported 85 cases of polio, the lowest number ever since polio statistics have been recorded. In 1994, when efforts to eradicate polio from India began in earnest, there were 4,791 cases reported.

Deepak Kapoor, chairman of Rotary International in India which has played an important role in polio eradication in India and other parts of the world, told New Kerala,

If polio can be completely wiped off by next year, it would be a great victory, not just for India, but for the international community as a whole. It would induce a renewed confidence in our efforts against other diseases such as malaria and AIDS.

Unfortunately, eradicating polio in Africa might prove a bigger challenge. Planned vaccinations in Ivory Coast, for example, had to be canceled due to the unstable political and military situation in that country.

Sources:

India starts ‘final’ anti-polio push. Ania Lichtarowicz, The BBC, November 21, 2004.

India inches closer to eradicating polio. New Kerala, November 21, 2004.

UN giving kids in India polio shots. United Press International, November 21, 2004.

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