India celebrated its victory over polio on completing of three years without any case of the debilitating infection in January 2014 .The nation becomes entitled to polio-free certification by the World Health Organisation in March 2014. It is an unprecedented event because till 2007, India accounted for over 55 percent of all Polio cases across the world.
This achievement was the result of what many believe to be of multi-pronged approach to eradicating the disease, a method which was a balanced mix of an aggressive advertising-public relations strategy and an extremely high level of government ownership for the eradication of this disease.
India has faced herculean challenges such as large population, poverty, poor sanitation practices, difficult geographic terrain and resistance to vaccines or drops due to social and religious prejudices to develop a system of response-ready system for Polio.
Supported by organisations such as World Health Organisation (WHO), Rotary International, the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, UNICEF and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the fight against Polio saw almost 23 lakh vaccinators across India to combat almost 2 lakh cases that popped up on yearly basis and safeguard almost 17 crore children at risk from this disease in India.
Even though the diversity in India was one of the deterrents, it is now a major reason for the development of various strategies which are now being used as best-practices for other polio-afflicted countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria.
IPE Global has also been in the forefront of the polio eradication campaign. The organization has been managing two key projects on polio which include HR & Financial Management Support for Social Mobilization Network for Polio Immunization (UNICEF; Uttar Pradesh-2005-2014 and Bihar 2013-2014) and National Polio Surveillance Programme (NPSP) (WHO; all India – 2013-2014).
The organization has been part of mobilizing communities for polio immunization through a network of over 1000 Officials and 5,000 Social Mobilizers, thereby, contributing towards making India polio free. Having been part of this great movement, it gives a sense of pride to the organization; to celebrate the nations triumph on polio.
Even though India has surprised the cynics and sceptics alike, the question remains whether India will be able to maintain its status polio-free in the near future. Even though initially polio was considered a daunting trial, today India will have the confidence to face the toughest challenges put its way.