New Delhi, Jan 13 IANS | 2 years ago

As India completes three years without reporting any fresh case of polio, Germany, which has contributed 243 million euros to the Indian Polio Eradication Programme, Monday termed it a "landmark achievement".

German Ambassador Michael Steiner here said: "I congratulate India on successfully eradicating polio. This is a landmark achievement. We are happy to have contributed to India's Polio Eradication Programme."

"Germany remains committed to the global initiative to eliminate polio from the few remaining pockets around the world," he added.

India Monday completed three years without reporting any fresh case of polio and is set to being officially declared polio-free by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Polio crippled an estimated 200,000 children in India each year before the launch of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative in 1996.

As recently as 2009, half of the cases worldwide were reported in India. It was considered one of the most difficult countries in eradicating polio.

The Indian Polio Eradication Programme is part of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.

The German government initiated its assistance for the programme in 1996, and has been extending it ever since to the Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

The German financial cooperation is channelled through German Development Bank KfW, which acts as the implementing agency on behalf of the German government.

The German contribution has been primarily used to procure oral polio vaccine and provide refrigeration equipment to safeguard the vaccine cold chain, a statement said.

(Posted on 13-01-2014)