World Polio Day is annually observed across the globe on October 24th to create awareness about the importance of the efforts to eradicate poliomyelitis (polio), an infectious disease that most commonly affects children under the age of 5.
- The day also marks the birth anniversary of Jonas Salk, an American virologist who developed the first successful polio vaccines.
- The day was established by Rotary International.
The theme of World Polio Day 2021 is “One Day. One Focus: Ending Polio – delivering on our promise of a polio-free world!”
i.Poliomyelitis is caused by a virus called poliovirus, which is transmitted from person to person through the faecal-oral route or through contaminated water or food.
ii.1 in 200 infections of poliovirus leads to irreversible paralysis; among these around 5 to 10% die when the breathing muscles become non-functional.
Polio does not have any cure, but it can be prevented through immunization.
There are two types of vaccines to prevent infection:
- OPV (Oral Polio Vaccine) – three doses at 6, 10 & 14 weeks and one booster dose at 16-24 months of age.
- Injectable Polio Vaccine (IPV) – Two fractional doses are given at 6 and 14 weeks
Efforts to eradicate polio:
i.The 41st World Health Assembly(WHA), declared the commitment of the World Health Organisation(WHO) to the global eradication of poliomyelitis by the year 2000.
ii.The Global Polio Eradication Initiative(GPEI) created in 1988 aims to eradicate and contain all wild, vaccine-related and Sabin polioviruses.
iii.In June of 2021, the GPEI launched the Polio Eradication Strategy 2022 – 2026: Delivering on a Promise
Global polio status 2021:
i.For more than 3 years the wild polio cases are reported only in 2 countries: Afghanistan and Pakistan.
ii.Since 1988, the number of polio cases across the globe has been reduced by 99.9%.
WHO provided the polio-free certification to India along with the entire South-East Asia Region of WHO in 2014.