A team of Rotarians from The Netherlands deliver a wheelchair to a polio victim while taking part in National Immunization Days in Uttar Pradesh, India.
By Albertine Perre-Bulder, past governor of District 1570 and National Immunization Day team leader
India is such a beautiful country. I am amazed by its many colorful cultures. And it has worked so hard to eliminate Polio!
Our Rotary team of 16 volunteers from District 1570 (Netherlands) participated in National Immunization Days (NID) in Bijnor and Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh in February. We vaccinated many children during Booth Day, but also went door to door so as not to miss a single child.
By Hugh Evans, founder and CEO of the Global Poverty Project.
Hugh Evans, CEO of the Global Poverty Project, will be a keynote speaker at the 2012 RI Convention in Bangkok, Thailand, 6-9 May.
That’s all that’s left of the world’s polio. Thanks to a global partnership involving governments, the World Health Organization, Rotary International, UNICEF and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the total number of polio cases worldwide has gone from 350,000 a year prior to 1988, to just 650 in 2011.
That is a truly amazing feat.
India’s recent success has proven that eradication is possible. Not so long ago, people thought that India would be the last place on earth to stop transmission of the disease. Yet despite the difficulties, the four partner agencies of the GPEI, the Indian Government and the Indian people worked together to see it done.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has removed India from the list of active polio-endemic countries, following a year in which the country reported no new cases of the virus. Ghulam Nabi Azad, India’s minister of health and family welfare, announced the decision during the Polio Summit 2012 jointly sponsored by the government of India and Rotary International, 25-26 February in New Delhi. Azad received a letter from Dr. Margaret Chan, head of the WHO, informing him that India’s name had been removed from the list. The wild polio virus remains endemic in three countries: Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Nigeria.
See a video message from RI President Kalyan Banerjee celebrating India’s first polio-free year.
Read “India is no longer polio endemic“
By Richard Rivkin, assistant governor of District 6440 and past president of the Rotary Club of Northbrook, Illinois, USA.
The team at a polio immunization rally in Moradabad, India.
After worming our way through the narrow streets of Moradabad, a small city in Uttar Pradesh, India, a local doctor brought us by foot to the End Polio Now rally which had already begun.
As part of a team of 20 Rotarians from districts 6440 (Illinois, USA), 6270 (Wisconsin, USA), 5650 (Nebraska, USA), and 1070 (England), we are in India this week to immunize hundreds of children in the Moradabad area and participate in a Polio Summit Conference 25-26 February involving Rotary leadership, government and health ministry leaders from India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nigeria, and surrounding countries.
Binota Banerjee, wife of 2011-12 Rotary International President Kalyan Banerjee, talks about her efforts to bring health care and education to Vapi, India.
Rotary health camp at Maldah, India
By Jenny Horton, Rotary Club of Kenmore, Australia
The state of West Bengal in eastern India presented many problems to polio eradicators. The poliovirus was imported into one of the northern districts in January 2010 and was still circulating the following December, with eight confirmed wild polio cases. Even with monthly immunization campaigns, reaching every child to stop the virus from circulating proved difficult.
By Bill Gates, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Four years ago, I visited India and saw again what polio does to children. I was in a slum in East Delhi, when I met a 9-month-old girl named Hashmin—paralyzed by polio—cradled in her mother’s arms. She will never be able to do many of the normal things kids do because she has polio. Watching her was the strongest of reminders of the imperative of ending this terrible scourge once and for all.
By Deepak Kapur, chair of the India National PolioPlus Committee and member of the Rotary Club of Delhi South, India
One year ago today, on 13 January 2011, the last case of polio was reported in India in the state of West Bengal. Rotary and our polio eradication partners quickly went into action, conducting a mop-up immunization round within six days of the report to stop further transmission.