As you’ll read in some of our blog posts, India is on the cusp of a critical milestone: on April 21st, the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh marks one year without a single case of polio.
Uttar Pradesh (UP)—one of the most challenging areas in the world to eradicate polio—has not reported a case of poliovirus since April 21, 2010. India is one of four countries where polio has never been interrupted, and UP’s milestone shows what’s possible when a country commits itself to this effort.
Yet there is still much work to be done if we are to defeat polio in India and around the world. And it will require continued political and financial commitment at the national and global levels. As Bill Gates says, “Eradicating polio is not something we can hesitate over now and say we’ll get done later.”
To see why we have to finish the job, look no further than 18-month-old Ratnesh in our video, “The Threat of Polio: Ratnesh’s Story.” Despite access to polio vaccines, malnourishment and inadequate sanitation left Ratnesh vulnerable to the virus. He was unable to build immunity, and became infected and paralyzed. As the World Health Organization (WHO) notes in the video, until polio is eradicated from India and the world, children like Ratnesh will always be at risk of infection.
We’re in “The Last Mile” for polio eradication, but the threat of this disease is very real. The global community needs to ramp up the energy and resources to ensure that no child suffers from this terrible disease.