World Polio Day 2022: History, significance all you need to know

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World Polio Day is annually observed on 24 October to raise awareness for polio vaccination and eradication of polio. The day provides an opportunity to focus on the global efforts toward a polio-free world and even recognise the tireless contributions of those on the frontlines playing a major role in the fight to eradicate polio around the world. Polio is a potentially fatal infectious disease for which there is no cure, but safe and effective vaccines are there. However, the disease can be prevented through immunisation. The Polio vaccine is given a number of times, and this protects a child for life. Making every child immune with the help of a vaccine is the only way out to a polio-free world.

History

Rotary International founded World Polio Day to commemorate the birth of Jonas Salk, who led the first team that developed a vaccine against the disease in 1955. In June 2021, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) launched the Polio Eradication Strategy 2022 – 2026 to fulfil a promise made 33 years ago at the 41st World Health Assembly. Since the declaration to eradicate Polio was adopted in 1988, billions of children have been immunised against the disease. It is to be noted that a 99.9 percent reduction in world polio transmission and elimination of the disease in 5 of 6 WHO regions, yet persistent challenges exist to end it in all forms.

What is the significance?

The day assumes importance to raise awareness about polio vaccination to protect every child from the impact of the disease, and to celebrate the many professionals, parents, and volunteers whose contributions make polio eradication achievable.

To ensure a polio-free world, efforts should continue to maintain high immunisation coverage. The day highlights the importance of implementing high-quality surveillance to detect any presence of the virus and prepare for an outbreak.

WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and Rotary International President Jennifer Jones will focus this year on the work done by the two organisations together for decades to eradicate polio and how they continue to work together on a healthier future for mothers and children.

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World Polio Day 2022: History, significance all you need to know
World Polio Day 2022: History, significance all you need to know
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