The health officials have declared Jodhpur and Barmer in Rajasthan as two new high-risk districts in the state since polio cases are being reported from across Pakistan. Mr. R P Jain, the state’s immunisation project director said, “The Centre has approved our request to declare Barmer and Jodhpur as high-risk districts in the state.” Polio cases being reported from the neighboring country is a cause for worry for Indian authorities, particularly in these border districts .
The WHO had declared India polio-free after no cases of polio were reported for three years. However, Pakistan is one of the three polio endemic countries along with Afghanistan and Nigeria.
When a global effort to end polio was launched in 1988, the disease crippled more than 200,000 children every year in India. Almost two decades later, in 2009, India still reported half of the world’s new cases — 741 out of 1,604.
With India’s booming population and large inaccessible areas with lack of hygiene and sanitation, many health experts predicted India would be the last country in the world to get rid of polio. Fortunately, for India they were wrong.
But it was a challenge none the less as it meant getting 170 million children vaccinated each year ,putting 2 million health workers on the case and securing beyond $2.3 billion in government funding. India was able to come up with innovative ideas — like refrigerators powered by kerosene — to get vaccinations to remote villages and to educate parents to get their children vaccinated.
To read more about How India beat the odds, click here.