Something really cool is happening in India. Something that most people haven’t taken much notice of but which is truly astonishing and worthy of celebration across the globe. The deadly disease of polio has almost completely been eradicated, and India may be declared disease free within the next few weeks. This is a remarkable achievement for a country once deemed an epicenter of the disease.
Is it important that we ask ourselves: what worked? The disease is still present in three countries — Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria — and the battle against will need to continue. Partly an international effort, partly a determined effort by the government itself, and a lot of money through various organizations including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Teams of volunteers from Rotary International also made it their mission to finish polio off once and for all.
India’s intensive effort even has extended to setting up polio vaccination stalls at the closest train station to the Pakistan border. Perhaps this self-protective step may even help Pakistan in its own steps to eradicate the disease.
It would be wonderful if the world would stop and acknowledge India’s incredible feat but it seems we are too distracted with other things. However, I do fervently hope that we do not forget the dangers of this terrible disease and relax our guard. Fortunately, these brave volunteers and health workers have worked tirelessly to make polio history, and for a while, I have high hopes that we will not easily forget.
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