History of World Polio day

  • World Polio Day is an initiative established by Rotary International to eradicate polio disease.
  • It is observed on 24th October every year to commemorate the birth anniversary of Jonas Salk who developed the vaccine for polio.
  • This year World polio day 2020 falls on 24th October Saturday.

Polio Definition

Poliomyelitis (Polio) is an infectious disease that attacks the nervous system and can lead to paralysis. Polio cause is ‘poliovirus’ that causes crippling in children.

How Polio spreads?

This virus spreads from one person to other through water and food contamination and commonly affects children under 5 years.

Polio symptoms?

Early-stage symptoms are Fever, Vomiting, Headache etc., next stage 1 in 200 infected children will suffer from irreversible paralysis and 5-10% among the paralyzed may lead to death due to nonfunctioning of breathing muscles.

Polio treatment and Prevention?

No cure has been found till day for Polio, but it can be prevented through safe and effective vaccination i.e. through immunization.  Polio Prevention by immunizing the children is an effective strategy to make world polio-free. With the lead of Rotary and other partnered organization 2.5 billion children have been immunized and the world is 99.9% polio-free now.

  • Polio vaccine can be given orally as Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) developed by Albert Sabin: First dose on birth, 6, 10 & 14 weeks as primary dosage and 16-24 months as booster dosage.
  • Injectable polio vaccine (IPV) given along with the DTP on 3rd dosage under universal immunization programme (UIP).

Need For complete Polio eradication?

Every child is at risk until polio is completely eradicated. If polio ceases to exist it is predicted that within 10 years 200,000 new cases may arise each year all over the world. There are only 3 countries Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Nigeria who are still endemic to polio, but the task is still incomplete until each and every child gets the vaccination. There are still 60 high-risk countries in which polio might still resurface.

Polio History

Year Event
1894 First Major Out Break of in the United States
1905 Polio is a contagious disease (Ivar Wickman a Swedish Physician suggestion)
1908 Discovery that polio was caused by a virus (Karl Landsteiner and Erwin Popper)
1916 New York polio outbreak kill 2000 people
1929 The invention of Artificial respirator for people suffering from paralytic polio (Philip Drinker)
1955 Polio Vaccine was developed (Dr. Jonas Salk)
1960 Licensing of Oral Polio Vaccine (Dr. Albert Sabin)
1979 Rotary start Polio Eradication Initiative to immunize 6 million children in Philippines
1985 Rotary International Polio Plus with a huge initial fundraising of US$120 million
1988 Global Polio Eradication Initiative a (joint venture of rotary and WHO)
1994 Polio eradication from America
1995 165 million children immunized in India and China by voluntary health workers
2000 10% of the world population 550 million children were immunized
2004 Largest coordinated immunization with 23 countries in Africa
2006 Only 4 Polio endemic countries- India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Nigeria
2012 No polio Record in India for 1 Year
2017 Six years since last polio case

Polio in India

  • Eradicating polio in India was a difficult challenge but intensive vaccination drive, awareness campaigns, strong surveillance made it possible.
  • The efforts of our Indian Government, Rotary, WHO and other organized efforts paid off when India has received polio free certificate from WHO on 27th March 2014. It’s been seven years since the last polio case surfaced in India.
  • Till the disease is completely eradicated there is a need to stay vigilant, so to maintain a high level of immunity children across the country are vaccinated on National Immunization Day.

World Polio Day Activities

Many events are organized to spared the awareness of Polio disease, symptoms, cause and need for Polio eradication especially on the Rural parts of the world. Healthcare volunteers organize camps to provide free vaccination for children under five years. The Rotary Clubs across the globe organize various activities for World Polio day celebration.

World Polio Day 2020 Theme

  • World Polio Day 2020 theme is Stories of Progress: Past and Present. This theme had been chosen to acknowledge the progress made thus far within the struggle to eradicate polio also on recognise the efforts of everyone involved within the process.
  • “One Day. One Focus: Ending Polio” is World Polio day theme 2019.

To focus the efforts of everyone around the globe World Polio Day is celebrated with different themes every year.

World Polio Day Themes

Year Theme
2016 End Polio Now, Make History Today
2017 A celebration of the unsung heroes of Polio eradication
2018 End Polio Now

“Polio should end now, till then every child will be in risk” Himalai IAS coaching wants to create this awareness on World Polio Day 2020 as a part of Our India with World events.