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Jan 13 2012

Good news on the disease front

A report just released says that it has been one year since there was a case of polio in India. This result was obtained after India carried out a massive program to deliver vaccines, involving 2.3 million vaccinators delivering 900 million doses in the past year. India used to have more than half of the world’s cases of this disease so this is a huge achievement. (Thanks to Ian over at The Crommunist Manifesto for the tip.)

This could mean that India could soon be removed from the list of countries where polio is still endemic, leaving just Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan on the list. It will take another two years of being disease-free for it to be declared that India has eradicated the disease. It is hoped that soon polio will join smallpox as the second global disease to be completely eradicated.

On a personal note, as a person who contracted polio at the age of six, this news is particularly gratifying.

5 comments

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  1. 1
    Ophelia Benson

    My sister contracted polio at age 10. I was an infant at the time, so my mother couldn’t visit her in the hospital – could only wave through a window. Heartbreaking.

  2. 2
    Greg Laden

    This is great news. A lot of my friends of about the same age as me who lived in the Ituri Forest had suffered polio and showed the effects. Strangely, I mainly knew men with post polio syndrome, manefest as atrophy.

    If polio remains in the Congo, and I have no idea if it does, it could very well not be on the radar screen of WHO or other health authorities.

  3. 3
    Mano Singham

    My younger sister was just one year old at that time. I was six so do not remember much but have the feeling that my parents were with me all the time.

  4. 4
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    That is really good news. Go India!

  5. 5
    hotshoe, now with more boltcutters

    I can hardly imagine delivering 900million of anything, much less 900million doses of polio vaccine that represent ongoing work of locating homeless families, migrants, and also Muslims who had believed rumors that polio vaccine was a plot against them … and then persuading them to get vaccinated and vaccinate their children.

    An interesting note from an NPR blog on the effort:
    “That’s a testament to the massive educational campaign conducted over years by the polio strategists – beginning with respected scholars in Muslim universities and reaching all the way down to trusted shopkeepers.

    So-called influencers were identified alley by alley in the neighborhoods of Moradabad and elsewhere. Eventually, imams began to preach sermons endorsing polio vaccination, issued fatwahs of approval, and announced vaccination clinics from their mosques.

    “We went and changed their minds,” the Moradabad imam says. “We took the (vaccine) ourselves in front of them and gave it to our children in front of them. People slowly began to come around, thank God! Because of our effort, our district hasn’t had any new polio cases.”

    Well done, well done, India.

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