Polio in India A History Now
Last weekend we all raised our head in pride knowing our country India is polio-free. But three-year-old girl Ruksa Khatun, the last child in India known to have contracted polio, is without a smile. Ramesh Ferris went to meet this little girl.
Ferris, sailing in same boat as Ruksa, understands her pain. He was abandoned by his mother and was adopted by Canadian family. He advocated the global drive to end polio. He helped educate people in Karachi about polio immunization
India had a remarkable achievement in fighting against polio. The fight got initiated in 1978 but came into full flow in 1994 when local government came into action. In 1995-96, the government established National Polio Surveillance Project. By 2010, the number dropped to 42 and as of today, India's last case was reported in the entire country.
Members of the national surveillance team have gone to Nigeria and Pakistan in particular to help those countries set up similar systems. Though it is a complicated task in Pakistan because of anti-western hardliners, the hope has not been lost completely. Thanks to people like Ferris whose continuous efforts give courage to make the entire world polio-free.
The infrastructure of national surveillance project is already being used to fight against tuberculosis and deliver health services to people living in rural areas of the country.