CHENNAI, India, 8 February 2013 - Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare today received an award in recognition of the landmark achievement of India completing two years with no newly reported cases of polio. Ms Anuradha Gupta, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare was also present on the occasion.
“We are very close to eradicating polio from the planet and great progress is being made every day,” said Helen Evans, presenting the award alongside Dr. Geeta Rao Gupta, Deputy Executive Secretary of UNICEF and Ms Lis Mason, Director, WHO.
The award is one of 15 given by GAVI to countries, constituencies and individuals to recognize their achievement and progress in immunization programmes. The awards celebrate progress in all areas of immunization.
Thanks to India’s renewed political commitment to immunization it has now been more than two years since the last person in the country was stricken with polio -, a young girl called Rukhsar Khatoon. This was made possible by polio vaccinators in India going the extra mile to find and immunize children wherever they are – in cities, in transit on trains or living in remote regions of the country.
The award and memento were handed over to the Minister on the second day of the Call for Action Summit being held at Mammallapuram, Tamil nadu.