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Social Domain - Health

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1) Polio eradication:

The transformation of India was bound to reflect in the field of ‘Health’. In 1995, the health department of the Indian government launched the campaign, dubbed as ‘Pulse Polio’. It was started jointly under the sponsorship of ‘World Health Organisation – WHO’, UNICEF, Rotary International, and the Government of India. This campaign was for the eradication of polio. The campaign was run with a determination not to leave a single child under the age of five years without administering polio vaccination. Various means were used to make the campaign absolutely successful, such as awareness camps, home visits, and extensive advertising through various media.

Poliomyelitis (polio) is a highly infectious viral disease that largely affects children under 5 years of age. The virus is transmitted by person-to-person spread mainly through the fecal-oral route or, less frequently, by a common vehicle (e.g. contaminated water or food) and multiplies in the intestine, from where it can invade the nervous system and cause paralysis.

In 1988, the World Health Assembly adopted a resolution for the worldwide eradication of polio, marking the launch of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, spearheaded by national governments, WHO, Rotary International, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), UNICEF, and later joined by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.  Wild poliovirus cases have decreased by over 99% since 1988, from an estimated 350 000 cases in more than 125 endemic countries to 175 reported cases in 2019.

Of the 3 strains of wild poliovirus (type 1, type 2, and type 3), wild poliovirus type 2 was eradicated in 1999 and no case of wild poliovirus type 3 has been found since the last reported case in Nigeria in November 2012.  Both strains have officially been certified as globally eradicated.  As of 2020, wild poliovirus type 1 affects two countries:  Pakistan and Afghanistan.


The ‘Ministry of Health and Family Welfare’ of the Government of India opened a new department for developing alternate medicine like Ayurveda, Yoga, and Naturopathy, Unani, Homoeopathy, etc. Since 2009, this department is known as ‘Department of Ayurveda, Yoga, and Naturopathy, Unani Medicine, Siddha and Homoeopathy’ (AYUSH). It is working for the development of syllabi and education of these branches of medicine, advanced research, standardization of medicine, etc.

The major achievements under International Cooperation are as follows:

  • “International Conference on Traditional Medicine for southeast Asian Countries” was organized by the Department of AYUSH in collaboration with the WHO Regional Office for Southeast Asia during 12-14 February 2013. The Conference has successfully positioned India Globally in the field of Traditional Medicine. Apart from the representatives from 11 South East Asian Countries, delegates from Brazil, China, Cambodia, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Malaysia, Mali, Mongolia, UK, and the USA also participated in the Conference.
  • Honorable Health Ministers of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Minister of Indigenous medicine Sri Lanka, Vice Minister of Health-Timor Leste, and the representative of DPR Korea, Indonesia, Myanmar, Maldives, and Thailand had attended the conference and unanimously adopted “The Delhi Declaration on Traditional Medicine for the South – East Asian Countries” during the conference on 13-2-2013.
  • Two separate letters of intent have been signed on 15.10.2012 with the Government of Mexico to facilitate the signing of an MoU at a future date strengthen, Promote and develop cooperation in the field of Traditional Systems of Medicines.
  • Information Cells for disseminating authentic information of AYUSH were set up in Trinidad and Tobago, Mexico.
  • A Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Human Resources of Hungary and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare of the Republic of India on Cooperation in the field of Traditional Systems of Medicine was signed on 17.10.2013. The Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Smt. Santosh Chowdhary, Minister of State for Health & Family Welfare, Government of India, and Mr. Zoltan Balog, Minister of Human Resources of Hungary at New Delhi in the presence of the Prime Ministers of both the countries. The main objective of the MoU is to strengthen, promote, and develop co-operation in the field of traditional systems of medicine between the two countries on the basis of equality and mutual benefit. The MoU encourages and promotes co-operation to enhance the use of traditional systems of medicine; promote mutual exchange of regulatory information on operational licensing to practice traditional medicine and on marketing authorization of medicines in both countries; promote the exchange of experts for training of practitioners, paramedics, scientists, teaching professionals and students in traditional medicine, etc. The signing of the MoU will give a boost to bilateral cooperation between the two countries in the areas of traditional medicine.
  • The World Ayurveda Congress (WAC) was organized by the Department of AYUSH in collaboration with the World Ayurveda Foundation and Govt of NCT, Delhi held from 7-9 November 2014 at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi. The Congress was attended by official representatives of 11 countries including Ministers from 4 countries. Health Ministers from 10 States, Ambassadors/ High Commissioners, Members of Parliament, MLA from Delhi, Secretaries and other officials from other Ministries/ Departments, Councilors of local bodies, more than 225 invited speakers and experts of Ayurveda, and 3580 delegates including 120 foreign delegates from 21 countries participated in the WAC. During the Congress 5 Plenary, 25 Technical sessions were held in which 259 papers were presented. Apart from this, 259 posters and 3 in-conference symposia were also conducted. The International Delegate Assembly held on 8th November 2014 parallel to the Congress in which 20 foreign delegates presented their views and shared their experiences in Ayurveda from respective countries. A seminar on Medicinal Plants was also organized by the National Medicine Plants Board (NMPB) on 8-9 November 2014.
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