With the global initiative of eradication of polio in 1988 following World Health Assembly resolution in 1988, Pulse Polio Immunization programme was launched in India in 1995. Children in the age group of 0-5 years administered polio drops during National and Sub-national immunization rounds (in high risk areas) every year. Around 17.4 crore children of less than five years across the country are given polio drops as part of the drive of Government of India to sustain polio eradication from the country.
The last polio case in the country was reported from Howrah district of West Bengal with date of onset 13th January 2011. Thereafter no polio case has been reported in the country. WHO on 24th February 2012 removed India from the list of countries with active endemic wild polio virus transmission.
The Pulse Polio Initiative was started with an objective of achieving hundred per cent coverage under Oral Polio Vaccine. It aimed to immunize children through improved social mobilization, plan mop-up operations in areas where poliovirus has almost disappeared and maintain high level of morale among the public.
Steps taken by the Government to maintain polio free status in India
Maintaining community immunity through high quality National and Sub National polio rounds each year.
An extremely high level of vigilance through surveillance across the country for any importation or circulation of poliovirus and VDPV is being maintained. Environmental surveillance (sewage sampling) have been established to detect poliovirus transmission and as a surrogate indicator of the progress as well for any programmatic interventions strategically in Mumbai, Delhi, Patna, Kolkata Punjab and Gujarat.
All States and Union Territories in the country have developed a Rapid Response Team (RRT) to respond to any polio outbreak in the country. An Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan (EPRP) has also been developed by all States indicating steps to be undertaken in case of detection of a polio case.
To reduce risk of importation from neighbouring countries, international border vaccination is being provided through continuous vaccination teams (CVT) to all eligible children round the clock. These are provided through special booths set up at the international borders that India shares with Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan Nepal and Myanmar.
Government of India has issued guidelines for mandatory requirement of polio vaccination to all international travelers before their departure from India to polio affected countries namely: Afghanistan, Nigeria, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Syria and Cameroon. The mandatory requirement is effective for travellers from 1st March 2014.
A rolling emergency stock of OPV is being maintained to respond to detection/importation of wild poliovirus (WPV) or emergence of circulating vaccine derived poliovirus (cVDPV).
National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI) has recommended Injectable Polio Vaccine (IPV) introduction as an additional dose along with 3rd dose of DPT in the entire country in the last quarter of 2015 as a part of polio endgame strategy.
South-East Asia Region of WHO has been certified polio free. The Regional Certification Commission (RCC) on 27th March 2014 issued certificate which states that “The Commission concludes, from the evidence provided by the National Certificate Committees of the 11 Member States, that the transmission of indigenous wild poliovirus has been interrupted in all countries of the Region.”
India has achieved the goal of polio eradication as no polio case has been reported for more than 3 years after last case reported on 13th January, 2011.
WHO on 24th February 2012 removed India from the list of countries with active endemic wild polio virus transmission
There are 24 lakh vaccinators and 1.5 lakh supervisors involved in the successful implementation of the Pulse Polio Programme
The total number of cases and number of affected districts during past 10 years is as below: