To fully eradicate polio, India must go beyond its own borders | Siddharth Chatterjee

From Global development | The Guardian Sun Jan 13 2013, 03:59:01

NGOs, government and local people are beating polio in India. Now we must take the challenge to Afghanistan and Pakistan

On Sunday, India marks two years since a child was crippled by polio. This is a remarkable public health victory for a country long considered the most difficult place to end polio. Thanks to India's success, we are now closer than ever to eliminating polio, with only 222 cases worldwide last year.

India's polio-free status came against all odds: an enormous population, widespread poverty, poor health and physical infrastructure, and pockets of insecurity. I contracted polio as a toddler. I was one of the lucky ones and recovered completely, but thousands of other children have grown up damaged by polio.

At this important two-year milestone, the stakes are higher than ever for India, which will not be certified as eradicating polio unless it remains without a case for another year.

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