24 January, 2021

Two Drops Of Scepticism

Heeding Indian experts may have ended the war on polio earlier

Sanjay Rawat
Two Drops Of Scepticism

If only the Indian government had heeded the advice given by seasoned Indian polio researchers, the country’s war against polio could have been won long ago. More significantly, astounding as it may sound, some three million children could have been saved from being crippled for life. As we celebrate the success of the possible elimination of polio from India, here’s a question that might serve as an important reality check: did the country fail its own people by not heeding to sound Indian advice and relying instead on overseas advisors unfamiliar with the ground realities of our country?

The burden of this crippling disease was astounding. In 1978, the annual rate of infection of children with polio was two lakh—that’s nearly 550 infections daily. While that has been brought down drastically over the decades to be able to claim freedom from polio, the road ahead still remains bumpy. Experts like Dr Nata Mena­bde, World Health Organisation’s (WHO) representative in India, warn that our “progress in polio eradication cannot afford...



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