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World Polio Day 2023: Date, Theme and Significance

World Polio Day 2023

World Polio Day every October 24 highlights global efforts to eliminate polio and the importance of vaccination in protecting children from the disease. It is also an opportunity to highlight the importance of all mothers, fathers, caregivers, health workers and volunteers who play a key role in getting polio vaccines to children and their communities. On January 13, this year, India completes 12 polio-free years which is considered as a remarkable achievement; the last polio case in India was detected in 2011.

World Polio Day is celebrated every year on October 24 to create awareness around the importance of polio vaccination to protect children. Oral polio vaccine is highly effective in protection from polio.

The theme for World Polio Day 2023 is “A healthier future for mothers and children.”

Polio vaccines

Oral polio vaccine (OPV)

OPV produces antibodies in the blood and provides shield against all three types of poliovirus. In the event of infection, it protects the individual against polio paralysis by preventing the spread of poliovirus to the nervous system.

Inactivated polio vaccine (IPV)

It is an injectable vaccine and can be either administered alone or along with other vaccines (e.g., diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, hepatitis B, and haemophilus influenza). Generally, three spaced doses are given to generate adequate levels of seroconversion. A booster dose is added during late childhood for polio prevention.

Polio symptoms

Most people affected by polio virus are asymptomatic and do not show any symptoms. While 1 out of 4 people suffering from polio develop mild symptoms like sore throat, fever, tiredness, nausea, headache, and stomach pain. A few people with this virus can develop serious complications of brain and spinal cords like meningitis, paralysis or weakness in arms or legs.

World Polio Day Significance

World Polio Day serves as a key observance in the battle against polio. On this day all major health organisations, such as Rotary International, WHO, and others, celebrate the dedicated individuals and groups engaged in the global battle against polio. This observance also emphasises the importance of preventing the resurgence of the virus and encourages everyone to gather funds to achieve the final goal of its complete eradication.

Rotary International and other organisations hold various events on this day to raise awareness of polio. These events occur in different forms, from rallies and walks to organising contests in schools and colleges.

History of World Polio Day

In the year 1988, there were around 3.5 lakh polio cases worldwide and the World Health Assembly resolved to eradicate the poliovirus. In 2002, WHO European Region was declared polio-free and from that time on October 24 every year, the World Polio Day is celebrated annually.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams: 

  • WHO Head: Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus;
  • WHO Founded: 7 April 1948;
  • WHO Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland.

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