By Sujan Pradhan
In June, members of my Rotary Club of Kakarvitta, Jhapa, Nepal, inspected 15 polio immunization booths around the municipality of Mechinagar, on the border of Nepal and India. The Nepal PolioPlus Committee had declared a National Immunization Day on 23 May, but due to the major earthquake in April, our inspection was postponed to early June. We visited booths from urban areas to far rural areas, and distributed banners, pamphlets, and water bottles to the volunteers at each booth.
We felt good to see the enthusiasm of the volunteers, and to see them motivated in their work. We saw that the parents were participating actively to immunize their children and were also spreading knowledge and awareness to their neighbors. We were also pleased to see an eight-year-old girl bringing her four-year-old sister to the booth.
We did find that increased publicity would be beneficial in the future to get the message into rural areas, and that more banners and pamphlets could be useful.
We had an opportunity to meet with the vaccination chief, Surya Bahadur Khadka, and his team as they were inspecting a booth on behalf of the Nepal government, under the authority of the Child Health Ministry. We had a short conversation with them and presented the data we had collected on our inspection.
It was good to see the dedication and enthusiasm of the volunteers as they help keep up the immunization and surveillance necessary to keep our region polio-free. We must continue to protect all children from this disease.
About the author: Sujan Pradhan, a graphic/web designer, is a charter member of the Rotary Club of Kakarvitta, Jhapa, Nepal. He has served his club as secretary and webmaster for two years, and chairs a district IT subcommittee.