Rotarians to help administer polio vaccines to millions of children
Members of Rotary International – a principal partner of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative – lend its support to the polio eradication effort during another round of the Sub National Immunization Day (SNID) held on June 17 across states of UP, Bihar, West Bengal, New Delhi and part of Maharashtra, Punjab and Haryana. A delegation of health officials from Afghanistan also participated in the SNID in UP.
The polio disease that held the world to ransom in the 1950′s and 1960′s has been eliminated with those two tiny drops of oral polio vaccine. India just completed 16 months without a case of polio, Deepak Kapur, Chairman, Rotary International’s India National PolioPlus Committee (INPPC), said, “Reaching the ultimate goal of a polio-free world presents myriad challenges. India cannot afford to be complacent while virus outbreaks in neighbouring countries could lead to an importation. As long as there is even a single polio-afflicted child anywhere in the world, children everywhere remain at risk.”
A delegation from the Global Poverty Project and supported by the Global Polio partners – Rotary International, WHO & UNICEF for advocacy and funding – will be in Ghaziabad to participate in the SNID. The team of high-net worth individuals will then travel to Patna to participate in Bihar door-to-door polio immunisation activity.
After achieving the milestone of non-polio endemic nation in February this year, India needs to maintain the status for another two years to be certified polio-free by the World Health Organization. Import of polio from neighbouring countries and re-emergence of the disease are major threats to the campaign and a key priority area for the stakeholders going ahead.
A delegation from Afghanistan comprising of officials from the Health Ministry, is in the country to exchange ideas and explore best practices in fighting polio in India and possibly emulate them in their country.
During SNID, thousands of children below 5 years of age were immunised against poliovirus at booths installed at different corners. The Rotary India PolioPlus distributed IEC (Information, Education and Communication) materials such as thousands of banners, whistles, caps and aprons during the SNID activity.