New Delhi: India being declared ‘polio-free' by the World Health Organisation is a “landmark achievement” and it should now assist other countries such as Pakistan, Nigeria and Afghanistan in their fight against this disease, President Pranab Mukherjee said today. “India must assist other countries such as Pakistan, Nigeria and Afghanistan in their fight against this disease in improving their health systems and infrastructure,” said Mukherjee while inaugurating the Polio Free Conclave 2014 organised by the Rotary International here.
“The unique challenge in India was the sheer number of people combined with the difficult terrain in many states. It was possible only because of the unparalleled dedication of all concerned and the relentless efforts put in by the workers, doctors, activists and various stakeholders including parents of children in achieving this day”, he said.
He, however, stressed the need to be vigilant to ensure that there was no recurrence of this disease. “We must be vigilant. There is need for watchfulness and preparedness to see that there is no recurrence of this disease,” he said.
The unprecedented programme to eradicate the polio virus from the country was taken up by the central and state governments supported by several national and international agencies such as Rotary International, UNICEF, WHO, CDC and Melinda and Gates Foundation, he added.