Sunday, September 6, 2009

India has reported 236 cases of polio in the last eight months and the country is moving towards wiping out the disease as 99 percent of the job is almost over, an official said Monday.

According to statistics released by the health ministry, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other partner organisations like Rotary, Uttar Pradesh has topped the table with 181 cases so far this year.

“India has achieved a lot of success in the polio eradication drive. I can say that 99 percent of the job is done,” Deepak Kapur, chairman of Rotary India Polio Committee, told IANS.

“The country is on the verge of wiping out P1 cases (the most virulent strain) by the end of this year. We have just 34 P1 cases this year as against 75 last year. Perhaps we are in the best position ever to wipe out P1,” Kapur added.

Of the 236 cases reported in India, 181 were detected in Uttar Pradesh, 49 in Bihar, four in Delhi and one each in Rajasthan and Uttarakhand, said Anil Kumar Singh, a health official in Patna. In 2008, India had reported 559 cases of polio, including 75 of P1.

Bihar health authorities are a little worried as 16 of the 49 cases detected are of the virulent P1 strain. The rest are the less virulent P3 strain. The state has been recording the second highest incidence of the disease in India for the last few years.

“Sixteen cases of P1 in Bihar as against only three last year is certainly a cause for concern. But we believe that things will be under control soon,” Kapur added.

WHO authorities in New Delhi said that though there are some implementation problems at the ground level, India is on the right track.

Bihar recorded over 300 new polio cases in 2008 but in last eight months there are just 49 cases. The state recorded 61 polio cases in 2006 and 193 cases in 2007.

“India is on the right track of polio eradication and you will see the outcome soon,” a WHO official added.

Both WHO and Rotary praised the central government for taking extra care to get rid of the disabling disease. Last week, the central government sanctioned over Rs.32 billion to wipe out the disease from the country in the next three years.

After a recent Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs meeting, Home Minister P. Chidambaram said that the main objective is to achieve the “goal of zero transmission of polio and obtaining international polio free certification for accomplishment of this goal”.


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