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India to celebrate 'victory over polio' after three years without the virus

Published on Feb 11, 2014 2:41 PM
An Indian child receives polio vaccination drops from a medical volunteer during a National Pulse Polio Immunisation (PPI) programme in Amritsar on Jan 19, 2014. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP

NEW DELHI (AFP) - Indian leaders are set later on Tuesday to celebrate the eradication of polio, marking one of the country's biggest public health success stories which was once thought impossible to achieve.

President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as well as the health minister and the head of the World Health Organisation are all due at a New Delhi stadium to celebrate "India's victory over polio", the information ministry says.

India, long one of the biggest sources of the paralysing virus, has gone three years without a new case, which means it will soon be certified as having wiped out the scourge.

On the three-year anniversary of the last case, on Jan 13, Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad hailed the "monumental milestone" and promised a celebration in honour of the officials, volunteers, NGOs and UN agencies which made it possible.

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