Polio eradication, India and Our two neighbours

“There is no patent. Could you patent the sun?”

–          Jonas Salk

Today is 100th birthday of Jonas Salk, man who discovered polio vaccine. Polio vaccine was result of tireless efforts of Dr. Jonas Salk & his team, credit also goes to thousands of Americans who raised fund for vaccine research esp. March of Dimes Foundation and risked their life by becoming volunteers for testing vaccine.

Dr. Salk did not patent his discovery and used it for welfare of mankind. Not just American children, but children all over world benefited from this vaccine. Before vaccine was discovered polio was most feared disease in America. Painter Andrew Wyeth painted his neighbour, Christina Olson, a polio victim, which shows helplessness of a polio child. Vaccine helped in total eradication of polio in US.


Thousands of children in third world countries were affected by polio. The respective countries started polio vaccination programs of their own for eradication of polio.

It is interesting to see how political system impacts vaccination program esp. our country and our two neighbours.

Communist China carried out vaccination program in 1993, in two days 80 million children were vaccinated, next year only 5 cases of polio were reported.

Democratic India intensified its polio eradication program in 1999, thousands of volunteers visited homes which had children below the age of 5 to give oral polio vaccine drops. Amitabh Bacchan became brand ambassador for polio eradication program. This year India was declared polio free.


Politically unstable Pakistan still has not been able to eradicate polio; in fact it is only nation in world which has reported increase in incidents of polio!


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