India’s fight against polio with a simple antidote programme led by the government since years had “India a polio free country” since 2014 – and to sustain polio eradication drive, Centre launched Pulse Polio programme for 2019.

The last reported case of wild polio in India were in West Bengal and Gujarat on 13 January 2011, and ever since then, Indian government administered nationwide mass polio vaccination campaigns has claimed success to eradicate the crippling disease completely. The anti-polio campaigns led by Indian Health Ministry were officially declared successful when the World Health Organization (WHO) declared India a polio free country on 27 March 2014. And to sustain the results of, Centre organises one national and two to three sub-national polio vaccination campaigns each year.

On Saturday, President Ram Nath Kovind held a ceremonial launch of the Pulse Polio programme for 2019 at the Rashtrapati Bhawan and, polio drops were given to children aged less than 5. The launch of Pulse Polio programme coincided the National Immunisation Day, which is observed on March 10 – and it will mark the onset of a nationwide polio drive Universal Immunisation Programme – under which, over 17 crore children below five years across the country will be given polio drops. For extra protection, the Centre has also added injectable inactivated polio vaccine in the regular routine.

Besides polio campaign, Universal Immunisation Programme has new introductions of vaccines for diseases like pneumococcal conjugate, rotavirus and measles-rubella to “focus on protecting children from diseases”. Mission Indradhanush had seen huge success last year with a record of 3.39 crore children and 87 lakh pregnant women being vaccinated. And this year’s launch aims to create 90 percent coverage is estimated for children and pregnant women to remove or decrease the chances of infant mortality. For all this, we must applaud the volunteers, frontline workers and health officials for keeping India free of such crippling diseases.