Wednesday January 23, 2019

India achieves five polio free years

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New Delhi: This last Wednesday India completed five years of being Polio free. Polio in the 90s was the biggest disease in India affecting as many as 50000 children a year.

The last reported case in India was Howrah District in West Bengal on January 13 five years ago. While, the last case in Delhi was in June 2009.

India has achieved a remarkable result as in 2009, the country had half of the share of polio cases existing in the world.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the country polio-free after it completed the mandatory period of three years without a single case being reported.

India’s neighbors like Pakistan, Afghanistan and other sub-continent countries are still fighting the battles against this disease which is why India cannot be complacent on the basis of this remarkable achievement.

The only case came close was last year when a two-year-old girl in Delhi was diagnosed with rare P2 stain virus. But doctors said there were one in million possibilities that this virus could turn into a complete polio case. Still India along with oral vaccine introduced injectable inactivated polio vaccine(IPV). The IPV vaccine makes it impossible to contract vaccine derived polio-like what happened with 2-year-old Delhi girl.

This is an example that with a set strategy and focus, any goal can be achieved. With the same intensity, India can get the favorable results in other public health sector.

India has a huge population and a breaking of any epidemic always has much bigger impact than what it can have in other nations. A large portion of this population does not even have the access to the basic medical facilities and living conditions. It means they are more likely to catch a disease and then they do not have the resources to counter that.

Take Dengue for example. Every season it affects thousands of people in the capital only and somehow there has been no way to stop this. It happens every year and then all our system does is the damage control.

If the approach followed in the eradication of polio, is used to counter other diseases as well, it will be a lot beneficial to the society.

Indian government deserves credit for the work done in making the country polio-free but more is expected in the public health sector.

Next Story

Myth Of Refugees Transmitting Disease In Europe Busted

The report says refugees and migrants are more affected by depression and anxiety than host populations

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Sub-Saharan migrants aiming to cross to Europe take shelter in a forest overlooking the neighborhood of Masnana, on the outskirts of Tangier, Morocco, Sept. 5, 2018. (VOA)

A new report by the World Health Organization disputes a belief that refugees and migrants bring exotic communicable diseases into the European region.

The report is based on evidence from more than 13,000 documents. It provides a snapshot of the health of refugees and migrants who comprise about 10 percent of the nearly 1 billion population in 53 European countries.

The survey finds migrants and refugees are generally in good health, but, due to poor living conditions, they risk falling ill while in transit or while staying in receiving countries. The report says contrary to common perception, the risk of refugees and migrants transmitting communicable diseases to their host population is very low.

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Europe is the only one among WHO’s six regions where HIV is prevalent . VOA

The WHO regional director for Europe, Zsuzsanna Jakab, tells VOA displacement itself makes refugees and migrants more vulnerable to infectious diseases.

“The refugees and migrants who come to Europe, they do not bring any exotic diseases with them, any exotic communicable diseases,” said Jakab. “The diseases that they might have, they are all well-established diseases in Europe. And also, we have very good prevention and control programs for these diseases. This applies both for tuberculosis, but also HIV-AIDS.”

Europe is the only one among WHO’s six regions where HIV is prevalent and increasing, especially in the east. Jakab says a significant proportion of migrants and refugees who are HIV-positive acquire the infection after they arrive in Europe.

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WHO considers it critically important that European countries provide quality and affordable health care for all refugees and migrants. VOA

The report finds refugees and migrants seem to have fewer noncommunicable diseases on arrival than their host populations; but, it notes the longer they stay in the countries in conditions of poverty, their risk of cardiovascular diseases, stroke and cancer increases.

Also Read: European Union Agrees To Cut Greenhouse Gases Emission

The report says refugees and migrants are more affected by depression and anxiety than host populations. It says unaccompanied minors are vulnerable to sexual exploitation and suffer from higher rates of depression and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

WHO considers it critically important that European countries provide quality and affordable health care for all refugees and migrants, regardless of their legal status. Providing universal health coverage, it says, would significantly improve the well-being of both the displaced and host populations. (VOA)