The UNO's World Health Organization has congratulated India on taking important steps towards eradicating poliomyelitis. Once considered the world's epicentre of the disease, in 2011 India did not register a single case and if the pending samples taken prove negative, the country will be officially declared free of polio.
The news means that there remain only three countries in which this virus is endemic - Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria. WHO Director-General Margaret Chan has hailed India's success as "its greatest public health achievement", providing "a global opportunity to push for the end of polio". UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake believes that "India's achievement is proof positive that we can eradicate polio even in the most challenging environments".
The key to success
For Margaret Chan the key to India's success in virtually (or totally) eradicating poliomyelitis is a three-word formula: creativity, perseverance and professionalism and for Anthony Lake, the secret was strong leadership at a national and state level, enabling poor and densely populated states to achieve high immunization coverage rates.