WHO to certify South-East Asia as polio free next week
Mumbai: The World Health Organisation (WHO) will certify the South-East Asia region that comprises of 11 countries including India as polio free on 27 March.
The certification is based on independent review and assessment of the national documentations from all the 11 national certification committees of member states for several years. South-East Asia will be the fourth geographical zone to join the polio free region of WHO after the Americas (1994), the Western Pacific (2000) and European region(2002).
“This will be a momentous occasion for the millions of health workers who have worked with governments, non-governmental organizations, civil society and partners to eradicate polio from the region,” Poonam Khetrapal Singh, regional director, WHO South-East Asia, said in a statement on Tuesday.
According to Singh, no single country can be certified as polio-free alone. WHO certification of a region as polio-free can happen after all the countries there report three years without a single new case of polio due to wild polio virus.
“It proves that such an achievement can also be reached for diseases such as measles and rubella. By preventing a debilitating disease, polio eradication helps to reduce poverty and gives children and their families a greater chance of leading healthy and productive lives. We must learn from polio eradication and make use of the infrastructure, capacities and innovative strategies to combat other diseases,” she said.