New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday said India’s ties with the western African nation of Liberia will “continue to strengthen” in the coming years.
“I am confident that our close and friendly relations will continue to strengthen in the years ahead,” Mukherjee said in a message to his Liberian counterpart Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on the eve of Liberia’s National Day.
Liberia, once a part of the American Colonization Society, declared its independence on July 26, 1847, which the US recognized on February 5, 1862, to make it the first African country to shake off the colonial yoke.
“It gives me great pleasure to extend warm greetings and felicitations to you and to the people of Liberia on the occasion of your National Day. Please accept, my best wishes for your continued well-being as also for the welfare and progress of the friendly people of Liberia,” Mukherjee said in a statement.
President Ram Nath Kovind, here on Saturday, launched the 2019 pulse polio programme by administering polio drops to children below five years at the Rahstrapati Bhawan.
The launch was organised on the eve of the National Immunisation Day, which will be observed on Sunday.
“Over 17 crore children below five years will be administered polio drops as part of the government drive to support polio eradication programme,” said a release.
Union Health Minister J.P. Nadda, also present on the occasion, said the Universal Immunisation Programme was focusing on protecting children from diseases and has introduced several new vaccines, like pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, rotavirus vaccine and measles-rubella vaccine.
“To provide additional protection to the children, the government has also introduced the injectable inactivated polio vaccine in the routine immunisation programme,” Nadda said.
Pointing out that the government was making all efforts to protect children from diseases, he said the vaccines under the programme must reach the last child of the country.
“Along with the Universal Immunisation Programme, we have also launched the Mission Indradhanush to achieve more than 90 per cent immunisation coverage. Over 3.39 crore children and 87 lakh pregnant women have been vaccinated through the Mission Indradhanush drives,” Nadda said.
Strengthening of the immunisation programme has contributed to the decline of infant mortality from 39 per 1,000 live births in 2014 to 32 in 2017, he added.
Nadda also appreciated the efforts of state governments and supporting organisations, like the WHO, UNICEF and Rotary International, for strengthening the polio programme as well as other immunisation initiatives.
He applauded the efforts of thousands of volunteers, frontline workers and health officials for tireless work for keeping the country polio-free. (IANS)