World Polio Day is annually observed across the world on 24th October to highlight the importance of the efforts to eradicate poliomyelitis (polio), the infectious disease that commonly affects children aged under 5.
- 24th October 2023 marks the 22nd observance of World Polio Day.
i.World Polio Day was established by Rotary International(RI) to commemorate the birth anniversary of Jonas Salk, an American virologist who developed the first successful polio vaccines.
- Jonas Salk led the first team to develop a vaccination against polio and began its testing in 1953.
- Oral polio vaccine (OPV) – OPV produces antibodies in the blood and provides shield against all three types of poliovirus.
- Inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) – It is an injectable vaccine and can be either administered alone or along with other vaccines (e.g., diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, hepatitis B, and haemophilus influenza).
ii.The first World Polio Day was observed on 24th October 2002.
Why from 2002?
i.In 1988, there were about 3.5 lakh cases of polio worldwide, and the World Health Assembly committed to eradicating it.
ii.The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the European Region polio-free in 2002.
iii.The World Polio Day is celebrated annually on October 24th ever since.
What is Polio?
i.Polio also known as poliomyelitis, is a disabling and life-threatening disease caused by the poliovirus.
ii.The poliovirus spreads from person to person and infects a person’s spinal cord and causes paralysis.
iii.It is an infectious disease, which can spread easily from one person to another.
iv.The only way to prevent polio is by vaccine.
India and Polio:
i.From 1995 onwards, India observes National Vaccination Day (twice a year) to create awareness about the importance of vaccination against not only polio but also other viral diseases.
ii.South-East Asia Region of the World Health Organization (WHO) including India was certified polio-free by the Regional Certification Commission (RCC) in 2014.
- The last polio case in India was in 2011; it was from Howrah, West Bengal.
iii.In 2012, WHO removed India from the list of “endemic countries with active poliovirus transmission”
iv.In 2015, India (along with 125 other countries) introduced the Inactivated Poliovirus Vaccine (IPV) into routine immunization as part of the Polio Eradication and Endgame Strategic plan.
Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI):
i.Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) is a public-private partnership(PPP) led by national governments with six partners –
- World Health Organization (WHO)
- Rotary International
- US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
- Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
- Gavi, the vaccine alliance
ii.GPEI aims to eradicate polio worldwide.
iii.In June 2021, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) launched the “GPEI Strategy 2022-2026: Delivering on a Promise.” to cut outbreak response times; increase vaccine demand; transform campaign effectiveness; work systematically through integration; increase access in inaccessible areas; transitioning towards government ownership; and improving decision-making and accountability.