India will be declared polio-free by the World Health Organization (WHO) if no cases of polio are detected in the country by January 13, Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said here on Monday.
“Any country that does not have a case of polio for three consecutive years is declared polio-free by the WHO,” Mr. Azad told journalists at the State Congress headquarters. The country has achieved the milestone in just four years.
The last case of polio was detected In January 2011 in the State’s Howrah district and since then there have been no new cases in the country. In 2009, India had 50 per cent of the share of the world’s polio cases.
Mr. Azad said the country was also infamous for sharing the infant mortality rate and maternal mortality with sub-Saharan Africa and lot of steps have been taken by the government to improve the statistics.
“The first thing that we did was to appoint an accredited social health worker in every village to provide ante natal and post natal care to pregnant women,” he said.
“There are about 6 lakh villages but we have appointed more than 8.8 lakhs ASHA workers,” Mr. Azad said, adding that several schemes had been launched for mother and child care.