The last case was detected in January 2011 in Howrah district
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 (ASHA) 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 have been launched for mother and child care.
He said about 51,000 hospitals and health facilities at the district level have either been constructed or upgraded during the regimes of the two United Progressive Alliance governments.
The country has been cautioned by the WHO that three kinds of disease, including diabetes and hypertension, cardio vascular diseases and cancer will affect the maximum number of people, Mr. Azad said.
Commenting on upgrading the cancer facility in the State, he said the second campus of the Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute will come up at Rajarhat along with a centralised centre for cancer at Hooghly.
Bankura Medical College and Hospital, Malda Medical College and Hospital and North Bengal Medical College and Hospital will be upgraded to super speciality hospitals with an expenditure of Rs. 150 crore each, he said.
Four new medical colleges will be set up in the State and process is on to identify suitable locations for them, he added.