The World Health Organisation has commended India's one year of being a 'polio free nation', calling it a major achievement.

"India's success is arguably its greatest public health achievement and has provided a global opportunity to push for the end of polio," WHO Director-General Margaret Chan said in a statement.

Two drops of life: India has spent more than Rs 12,000 crore on the
Pulse Polio Programme to get rid of the dreaded disease. File pic

"Stopping polio in India required creativity, perseverance and professionalism. The lessons from India must now be adapted and implemented through emergency actions to finish polio everywhere," Chan said.
The statement, however, added, "There remains no room for complacency. India must maintain sensitive surveillance and high childhood immunity against the wild polio virus to guard against any importation of polio until eradication is achieved globally."

January 13 marks one year of no polio cases being reported in the country. The last new polio case in India was reported January 13, 2011, involving a two-year-old girl in West Bengal.

In 2010, there were 42 cases as compared to 741 in 2009. In 1991, there were 6,028 cases and in 1985 there were 1,50,000. India has spent more than Rs12,000 crore on the Pulse Polio Programme. The country took a lead in introducing bivalent polio vaccine (bOPV) in January 2010.