Hailing India’s victory over polio, President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh commended the nearly 2.3 million vaccinators and health workers who were the backbone of the polio eradication campaign.
“The real warriors in the fight against polio are the ones who have made it possible, including the coordinators, supervisors, parents, children, vaccinators and more,” Mukherjee said at an event celebrating a polio-free India.
He said eradication of polio was possible through strong determination, involvement of all sections of the society and the political leadership.
This achievement of India could not have been possible without team effort, he said, adding that this was a milestone towards universal health care in the country.
The prime minister said eradication of polio was no ordinary achievement.
“The impressive achievement can be attributed to strong political will, assured financial commitment and robust oversight of the strategy adopted by the government,” Manmohan Singh said.
“Today, I would like to remember and thank, above all others, the nearly 2.3 million vaccinators and 150,000 supervisors, together with officials and non- officials without whose efforts we would not be here today,” he said.
The prime minister said this demonstrates that polio can be eradicated despite many obstacles and adverse circumstances.
“It is now our duty to follow the path laid by this programme in other areas. In particular, we should try and deliver life-saving vaccines to every child across the length and breadth of our country. Even the remotest of corners of our country should achieve full immunization of all children against preventable diseases,” he said.
Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said it was a matter of great pride that the virus has been completely wiped out from the country.
United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi said the victory over polio was an extraordinary success.
“This has been possible through team work, highly creative communication strategy which worked to dispel myths and fears and stimulated communities,” she said while congratulating the lakhs of workers who made this possible by motivating people.
WHO director general Margaret Chan said: “India has shown the world that there is no such thing as impossible. This is likely the greatest lesson and the greatest inspiration for the rest of the world.”
She attributed the success to world class health surveillance systems in India which not only meet international standards but surpass them.