NEW DELHI: President Pranab Mukherjee Saturday launched a pulse polio immunization programme by administering polio drops to children at Rashtrapati Bhavan here.
Children of less than five years will be given polio drops on National Immunization Day January 18, as part of the government's drive to sustain polio eradication, an official release said.
India has been implementing the Pulse Polio Programme since 1995 and the last case of wild polio was reported in January 2011.
A country is declared polio-free by the World Health Organization (WHO), if no case is reported for three consecutive years.
India and seven other Asian countries were declared polio-free by the WHO March 27, 2014.
Apart from India, the other countries which were given polio-free certificates were Bangladesh, Bhutan, North Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, the Maldives and Myanmar.
Speaking at the function, union Health Minister J.P. Nadda applauded the sustained hard work of nearly 23 lakh volunteers and 1.5 lakh supervisors, along with donor partners for eradicating polio from India.
The health minister said efforts to keep the country polio free are being sustained.
Nadda said a travel advisory has also been issued as per WHO guidelines to vaccinate all travellers between India and eight polio-infected countries including Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Cameroon, Syria, Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya.