Updated on 5 March 2014
WHO Representative to India, Dr Nata Menabde, said, "World Health Organization supports the Government of India initiative for making polio immunization a requirement for travelers from and to the polio-affected countries. This is also in line with the recommendation of the Independent Monitoring Board of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative."
Earlier, in May 2013, the India Expert Advisory Group (IEAG) on Polio Eradication recommended that the Government of India should strongly promote the current WHO polio immunization recommendations for travelers to and from endemic or infected areas. The expert body had said that the most significant risk is the importation of poliovirus from remaining countries with endemic circulation. Additionally, the possibility of outbreaks in non-endemic countries leading to spread that threatens India could not be discounted.
India is taking several other measures to mitigate the risk of poliovirus importation. Continuous polio immunization posts have been set up along the international borders with Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Bhutan. Initiated in 2011, the number of posts has gone up to 102 this year with nearly 4.2 million children immunized at these posts in the last two years. All efforts are being madeto maintain population immunity against polio through high quality polio immunization campaigns and increased routine immunization coverage. Two national and six sub-national polio campaigns were held in 2013.
High quality surveillance is in place to detect any untoward importation of the poliovirus into India.
The Government of India has declared that any case of poliovirus would be treated as an emergency. The emergency preparedness and response capacity is being reviewed on an ongoing basis and nearly 200 Rapid Response Team members have been trained to roll out emergency response to polio.