India under risk of importing polio from Pakistan, Afghanistan: health minister


As two suspected cases of polio were reported from India this week, a high ranking Indian official has said that the country was at “high risk” of importing polio virus from neighbouring countries such as Pakistan and Afghanistan, Press Trust of India reported.

Indian Health Minister JP Nadda said that India has offered to host technical missions from these polio affected countries to observe national immunisation day exercises held in New Delhi as part of their anti-polio campaign.

“Yes, India runs a high risk of importing the polio virus from its neighbouring countries, especially Pakistan and Afghanistan,” Nadda said.

He also said that according to World Health Organisation (WHO) data, there were only two countries which had persistent transmission due to wild polio virus in the 2013-2014 period.

“Afghanistan has reported 28 polio cases and Pakistan 306 cases during 2014 as per the latest report,” Nadda said.

Addressing the country’s bid to assist in efforts to combat polio, Nadda said that last year in Nepal, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had expressed India’s support in providing vaccines to countries who needed them.

“The government offered its assistance through the Ministry of External Affairs for technical missions to visit India from polio-endemic countries like Pakistan and Afghanistan to observe National Immunisation days/Sub-national Immunisation days for polio campaigns,” he added.

India was last year officially certified by the WHO as a ‘polio-free country’.


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