India marks two years since last diagnosed polio case
Published on January 16, 2013 at 10:52 AM
On January 13, India "completed two years since the last case of the crippling disease was reported ... a huge achievement for a country that as recently as 2009 reported 741 cases of polio -- more than any other country in the world, and almost half of cases reported globally that year," the Wall Street Journal's "India Real Time" blog reports (Dutta, 1/13). "India's accomplishment was a triumph of consistent and strong political will as well as international coordination and has given a huge lift to the global fight against polio, a disease that as recently as 1988 claimed 350,000 people each year," TIME writes in an article examining the history of "how a country so huge, so diverse and so poor managed to stop polio transmission [and] offe[r] important lessons both for the complicated international effort to eradicate the disease for good and for India's own health care system" (Mahr, 1/13).
"Today, the wild polio virus circulates in only three countries: Afghanistan, Nigeria, and [India's neighbor], Pakistan, where the polio eradication campaign has been in the news lately, but, unfortunately, not because of the impressive 65 percent reduction in cases Pakistan has achieved since 2011," the New York Times' "India Ink" blog reports. "Sadly, the news out of Pakistan has focused on a recent spate of violence targeting polio vaccinators, the dedicated army of health workers and volunteers who go door-to-door to reach the most at-risk children with the oral polio vaccine," the blog continues (Mahajan, 1/11). TIME also features a cover story examining how politics is hindering the fight against polio, particularly in Pakistan (Kluger, 1/14). BBC News examines challenges to eradicating polio in Nigeria, which "is being watched more closely than anywhere else: its cases reached a three-year high with more than 100 in 2012" (Dreaper, 1/14).
This article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.