‘In nine days, India to be officially polio-free’

"India is just nine days away from reaching a milestone that will officially certify the country as "polio-free", said Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad on Saturday, addressing the valedictory session of a global healthcare summit organised by American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) in Ahmedabad. "When I took over as the health minister in 2009, India had 50 per cent of the polio burden of the world. Today, we are just nine days away from having an India that has been polio-free for three years," he said.

The minister emphasised the importance of this milestone by saying that these three crucial years with zero polio cases being reported will help India get an official tag of being "polio-free" from the World Health Organisation (WHO). The last case of polio was reported from West Bengal in January 2011. The minister said that it took 2.3 million volunteers and 150 thousand supervisors to administer polio drops to 170 million children at "one-go" in the country. Azad said he would be launching the Urban Health Mission in Bangalore on January 20.

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