The World Health Organization(WHO) has declared South-East Asia region, polio-free. The certification is being hailed as a historic milestone in the global fight to eradicate the deadly virus.It comes after India officially recorded three years without a new case of polio. This achievement shows 80 percent of the world is now free of polio, although the disease is still endemic in Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan. Other countries in the South East Asia region, such as Sri Lanka, Maldives and Bhutan, have been free of the virus for more than 15 years.
Key facts: polio
Ø Polio mainly affects young children
Ø Severe cases of polio can lead to paralysis and death
Ø The World Health Assembly embarked on a global eradication program in 1988
Ø Australia was declared polio-free in 2000
Ø In 2013 polio was endemic in only three countries: Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan