Health leaders around the world today will acknowledge an important achievement in the fight against polio as India marks one year since the last recorded case of wild poliovirus in the country.
This success is the result of the Government of India's hard work and great partnerships with Rotary International, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, WHO and UNICEF as well as millions of volunteers, health workers and community leaders.
Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, issued the following statement on this occasion:
"This is a major milestone in the global fight against polio. Children in India are now protected against this debilitating, but preventable disease, bringing us one step closer to saving and improving the lives of all children.
"Polio can be stopped when countries combine the right elements - political will, quality immunization campaigns, and an entire nation's determination. We must build on this historic moment and ensure that India's polio program continues to move full-steam ahead until eradication is achieved.
"By continuing to raise the funds needed to run the global campaign, world leaders can ultimately save billions of dollars and help to ensure that no child ever suffers from this crippling disease again.
"I congratulate the Government of India, Prime Minister Singh, Union Health Minister Azad, the Chief Ministers - especially of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal - and the millions of individuals who have contributed to this success. India's story illustrates the possibility of tremendous progress even in the face of difficult economic times, a challenging environment and competing development needs. Partnerships and innovation are key to saving lives and creating economic opportunity for people living in poverty throughout the world."