: Even though India is yet to be declared polio-free nation by the World Health Organisation, the year 2011 has something to cheer about for the country in polio eradication drive.

The longest polio-free period India has ever had was achieved this year due to sustained immunisation focus across the country, according to a World Health Organisation Surveillance Officer.

While there were 33 polio cases in India in the year 2010, there was only one polio case this year so far.

“India had only one case this year till now. That single polio case was reported in Howrah (West Bengal) in the last week of January 2011. After that, there is not a single case of polio in India and in fact this was the longest polio-free period the country has ever had,” Santhosh Rajagopal, WHO Surveillance Officer, told The Hindu here on Sunday.

The Rotary International District 3000 and Rotary Club of Madurai West organised a “polio plus planning and orientation meeting” to chalk out a coordinated strategy for the immunisation in general and for the National Immunisation Days which will be taking place soon.

The fact that India had no polio case in the last 220 days was a matter to be happy but a lot more had to be done to “complete the job” of eradication by sustained campaign against polio.

The last polio case reported in Tamil Nadu was seven years ago.

K. Vanaja, Joint Director (Immunisation), Government of Tamil Nadu, who spelt out the State's plan of action for polio eradication at the meeting, said routine immunisation, mass immunisation, surveillance of Acute Flaccid Paralysis and mop-up were the four components in place in all districts of the State.