`Others should learn from India`s efforts to curb polio`

Updated: Jan 10, 2012, 21:17 PM IST

New Delhi: Praising India`s efforts to curb polio with not a single case reported last year, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates advised countries around the world to learn from its success terming it as a huge milestone in global health.

"I`m optimistic that we can vanquish polio forever if other countries choose to learn from India`s success. Together, we can accomplish something amazing… This is a huge milestone in the history of global health," wrote Gates on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation`s website Monday.

Gates wrote about his encounter with children suffering from polio when he visited the country four years back and how the country had not reported a single case since the last one year.

"Four years ago, I visited India and saw again what polio does to children… The following year, in 2009, India had more polio cases than any other country in the world. But much has changed since then," said Gates.

"…This Friday will mark a full year since the last case of wild poliovirus was detected in India," he added.

Gates said that it was a "remarkable achievement" keeping in mind a huge and growing population, hard-to-reach migrant communities, and sanitation and health conditions that limit the effectiveness of polio vaccines in the country.

"Twice a year, two million volunteers prepare 800,000 vaccination booths around the country - at schools, hospitals and community centres. They immunize more than 172 million children one by one," said Gates.

"India`s story is proof that major health problems can be solved in the toughest places in the world. But the fight against polio is not over and we are at a critical moment in time," he added.