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India’s Ownership Over Polio Eradication Program Contributed To Success

“The key to India’s success” in going a full year without recording a case of polio “was to take ownership of the problem and the solution, allowing for locals to learn from the expertise of the international community while not becoming dependent” on non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and international donors, William Thomson, a research assistant at the U.S. Naval War College, writes in The Diplomat’s “India Decade.”

India’s ownership over its polio eradication program has allowed it “to address social and cultural resistance to vaccination” and “to develop first class institutions,” such as the National Polio Surveillance Project (NPSP), Thomson writes, adding that such local organizations “have created valuable institutional knowledge, which can’t be transferred from NGOs or donor nations as it’s something only earned through experience.” He concludes, “The experience gained from addressing widespread public health issues during the polio fight is invaluable, and will likely prove a boon to India in the future as it confronts similar challenges, from HIV/AIDS to tuberculosis and malaria” (2/7).