In just over half a century, we have made massive progress in protecting our children from polio. It’s paying off. Today, on this World Polio Day, we are closer than ever to eliminating this terrible disease from India.
Polio cripples and kills. Children face many threats, but this is one that we can prevent forever right now.
We know what works. When the polio eradication campaign started, India was reporting 500 polio cases per day. Since then, more than 40 lakh children have been saved from paralysis. You have seen me, cricketers and other public figures on television, urging everyone to join the immunization effort. In the last few years, there has been a marked increase in the number of parents who ensure their children are immunized. Thousands of dedicated health workers travel great distances to take vaccines to remote areas. All of this has had tremendous impact along with support from government leaders and increased surveillance to track and stop the polio virus. So far this year, we have seen only 39 polio cases — down from 741 in 2009. But as we know, India’s eradication campaign still faces a variety of challenges. If not addressed, we will be unable to keep our children safe
Through our success, we will prove that India is serious about defeating polio once and for all — for the sake of the children, and for the sake of the world.