GAVI recognises India’s efforts to tackle polio

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Award presented at Child Survival Call to Action Summit in Chennai


GAVI Deputy CEO, Helen Evans (left), presents a special award to Health and Family Welfare Minister, Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad, in recognition of India’s efforts to eradicate polio.
Credits UNICEF/2013

Chennai, 8 February 2013 – The GAVI Alliance today presented the Government of India with a special award in recognition of its work towards eradicating polio.

GAVI Deputy CEO, Helen Evans, presented the award, on behalf of the Alliance partners, to Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad, the Honourable Union Minister, Health and Family Welfare, during the Call to Action Summit for Child Survival and Development in Chennai, India.

Anuradha Gupta, the Additional Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, was also in attendance alongside the Minister.

The award is one of 15 given by GAVI to countries, constituencies and individuals to recognise their achievement and progress in immunisation programmes. The awards are not limited to GAVI supported vaccines but celebrate progress in all areas of immunisation.

Going the extra mile

Thanks to India’s renewed political commitment to immunisation 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 immunise children wherever they are – in cities, in transit on trains or living in remote regions of the country.

Eradicating polio from the planet

“We are very close to eradicating polio from the planet and great progress is being made every day,” said Helen Evans, who presented the award alongside Dr. Geeta Rao Gupta, Deputy Executive Secretary of UNICEF. “We are now down to just three countries with endemic polio because India has now gone two years without a case. I am proud to be here today to present the GAVI Polio Eradication award to India for its contribution to this cause. We hope that this positive momentum can be carried forward and that we see strong links made between routine immunisation and this successful push towards polio eradication.”

Legacy of benefits

The efforts to stop polio promise to prevent innumerable children from lifelong paralysis. They also promise of legacy of benefits. GAVI is pleased that the government of India is building upon the skilled health professionals, committed volunteers, and innovative health strategies that were part of stopping polio to further strengthen its routine immunisation and national health system.

The development of the GAVI awards’ basic principles, criteria and selection procedures have been undertaken through an extensive, transparent and collaborative process involving the World Health Organization, UNICEF, a GAVI Awards Sub-Group which incorporated inputs from the Independent Review Committee (IRC), using data from WHO, UNICEF and GAVI.

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