Polio eradication: A great day for Amitabh Bachchan and for India

If Bachchan looks back at all the brands that he has represented and tries to evaluate which brand he helped the most, the answer would be a product that he got paid nothing for, but one in which he was key to the success.

Anant Rangaswami January 13, 2014 12:16:27 IST
Polio eradication: A great day for Amitabh Bachchan and for India

One cannot remember all the brands and categories that Amitabh Bachchan has been associated with as a brand ambassador. He's appeared in car ads, food ads, clothing ads, beverage ads, cement ads. If he looks back at all the brands that he has represented and tries to evaluate which brand he helped the most, the answer would be a product that he got paid nothing for, but one in which he was key to the success.

Polio eradication A great day for Amitabh Bachchan and for India

Amitabh Bachchan. YouTube video grab

It was his association with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in the battle against polio.

He has appeared in many ads for the cause, but this one would probably be the most remembered and most effective.

This morning, we read this in a press release: "The World Health Organisation is set to officially declare India a polio free nation as no polio cases have been detected in the country for the past three years. In a press release, the World Health Organisation noted, though India was once recognised as the world's epicentre of polio, the country now appears to have interrupted wild poliovirus transmission. "If all pending laboratory investigations return negative, in the coming weeks India will officially be deemed to have stopped indigenous transmission of wild poliovirus," it noted.

The current happy situation vis--vis polio is a result of a gargantuan exercise, leading to comments we, as a country, are so used to hearing about ourselves. All emphasis is Firstpost's.

"Global health leaders today paid tribute to the Government of India for its leadership and financial commitment to the polio eradication effort, and to the millions of vaccinators, community mobilizers, Rotarians, parents and caregivers who have supported polio eradication for more than a decade. The scale of the eradication effort in India is mind-boggling: each year, more than 170 million children under the age of 5 are vaccinated in two national immunization campaigns, with up to 70 million children in the highest-risk areas vaccinated multiple times in additional special campaigns; the whole effort requires nearly a billion doses of oral polio vaccine annually.

"India's success is arguably its greatest public health achievement and has provided a global opportunity to push for the end of polio," said WHO Director-General Margaret Chan. "The Global Polio Eradication Initiative is in full emergency mode and focused on using this momentum to close this crippling disease down. Stopping polio in India required creativity, perseverance and professionalism - many of the innovations in polio eradication were sparked by the challenges in India. The lessons from India must now be adapted and implemented through emergency actions to finish polio everywhere."

"India is one of the largest donors to polio eradication, being largely self-financed. By 2013, India will have contributed US$ 2 billion."

Amazing words to read about India, at a time when compliments about the nation are so rare.

Our congratulations to all the thousands involved - including Amitabh Bachchan - for helping the cause and for allowing us the rare pleasure of good news.

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