For the past three years, not a single person in India has been diagnosed with polio. The country is now officially polio-free — an extremely impressive achievement when you consider India’s recent history with the disease.
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates shared his thoughts today and called the milestone “one of the most impressive accomplishments in global health, ever.”
“India showed us what is possible — we can end polio, and protect all children everywhere from this debilitating disease forever,” Gates wrote.
Gates, who has long been a proponent of eradicating polio from the world through his foundation, said that India was a “petri-dish” for polio just five years ago.
However, organizations and the Indian government worked together to send millions of vaccinators around the country to reach children living in rural or hard-to-reach places.
“One of the most powerful images I’ve seen during my visits to India is that of parents proudly holding vaccination cards showing that their children were protected from deadly diseases for the first time,” Gates wrote.
Still, polio exists in other places like Pakistan and Nigeria. Gates hopes that the disease can be eliminated everywhere by 2018