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The Indian Red Cross Supports the two drops of life - Polio Eradication

Moving Snapshot of an Immunization Day in India

January 13, 2012, India achieves milestone in Global Polio Eradication. If Alexander Fleming’s discovery of penIcilin in 1929 gave mankind a fresh hope of life and survival, India’s celebration of the year since the last reported case of polio is reason enough to be optimistic about this great achievement in the Global Polio Eradication Programme.

In next few weeks, India will be removed from the WHO's list of countries where polio is endemic, unless a new or previously unreported case emerges.

"What we are seeing today after 12 months without a child paralyzed by polio is that proof-positive that polio can be eradicated," said the World Health Organization’s Assistant Director-General, Dr. Bruce Aylward, who leads the group's global polio eradication program. "We can overcome the biological challenges,we can overcome the operational challenges to ensuring this disease is eradicated once and for all."

The number of polio cases reported in India dropped from 741 in 2009 to only 42 in 2010, and just one case was reported in 2011.

The Indian Red Cross also made its small but significant contribution towards the Global Polio Eradication Programme.

Dr S.P Agarwal, Secretary General,Indian Red Cross opines, “Eradication of polio is an outstanding achievement. It gives me immense pleasure and pride to say that Indian Red Cross has constantly been advocating and supporting the cause through local administration”. He further added, “ This could be possible due to the organized, sustained and committed work of all different actors to get the country rid of Polio”. He also thanked the volunteers and staff of Red Cross and St John who set up posts during snowfallS, rains and heat waves where no comfort was available yet polio drops were administered without any distinction.

Indian Red Cross Volunteers and staff played a major role in dissemination of information to the general public, about the importance of preventing, controlling and eliminating the virus that causes paralysis, muscular autrophy and permanent deformity among children. Volunteers have also been deputed to administer Polio drops at various Railway stations and Entry points to Delhi NCR by road on National Polio Day.

The IRCS at the grass- roots level supplements the local health authorities in carrying out the polio vaccination drives. The Indian Red Cross has also implemented Polio Programmes in the states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh where Polio had high prevalence.

Through its hospitals, health centres and Balvikas Kendras of Maternity and Child Welfare (MCW) programme, in Uttranchal IRCS reaches out to administer polio drops to needy children between the age –group of 0-5 not only at its centers but also in households. The Red Cross branches operate such centers all over the country.

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