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India-Pakistan-Afghanistan Joint Front to Eradicate Polio
May 09, 2015

India runs a high risk of importing polio from its key neighbours Afghanistan and Pakistan which have a high polio burden. It is a fact that India’s two key neighbouring countries of India, Afghanistan and Pakistan, have high polio burden and as such it runs a high risk of importing the virus. As per WHO data, these are the only two countries worldwide that have persistent transmission due to wild polio virus in year 2013-2014 and remain endemic.

Neighbouring Countries Total No. of cases in 2014 Total No. of cases in 2015 (as on 22nd April,15)
Pakistan 306 21
Afghanistan 28 1

India has extended a helping hand to them in an attempt to form a united front to eradicate the disease. Both the countries have shown their positive response in the matter and as such have agreed to send their teams to visit India and adopt its model for eradicating polio.

  • Polio has been successfully eradicated from most of the SAARC nations including India.

  • However, polio remains endemic in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

  • In 2014, Pakistan had reported 306 cases while Afghanistan had reported 28 polio cases.

  • The total polio cases in Pakistan in 2015 (as on April 22) were 21 while in Afghanistan, it was 1.

  • Until polio virus transmission is interrupted in these countries, all countries remain at risk of importation of polio, especially India which shares border with Pakistan and has lots of Afghanistan nationals visiting India on frequent basis.

  • India has already indicated its willingness through the Ministry of External Affairs to host technical missions from Pakistan and Afghanistan.

  • The Polio Programme of India now serves as a model health programme globally.

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