And basking in the pride is the health ministry, led by Ghulam Nabi Azad. He said,"It is a matter of pride for the nation that not a single case of polio has been detected in the three years. This is one of India's monumental and biggest milestone achieved, through a massive and sustained immunization programme."
741 cases were reported in 2009, 42 in 2010 and 1 in 2011.
The declining trend could be seen since 2009 itself. As per Azad, there were 741 cases reported in 2009, 42 cases in 2010 and just 1 case in 2011, when a 2 year old girl suffered polio paralysis in Howrah district of West Bengal.
"India accounted for half of all the cases of polio reported globally in 2009. Within four and half years, we have been able to eradicate the crippling disease," Azad said.
Historically, polio has been considered the largest endemic reservoir of polio with occurrances ranging between 50,000 to 100,000 between 1978 and 1995, every year.
A milestone, indeed, the WHO representative Dr Nata Menabde appreciated the development saying,"This landmark is a great credit to the strong commitment and leadership of the Government of India. Credit also goes to the government's strong partnership with WHO, Rotary and UNICEF as also the millions of frontline workers - the vaccinators, social mobilizers and community and health workers - who continue to implement innovative strategies to rid India of polio."
An official function will be organised on 11 February to celebrate the matter, in which President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj and WHO Director General Margaret Chan along with international NGOs will be present.