India marks three years since its last case of wild polio on 13 January 2014, a landmark achievement for global public health and the worldwide effort to eradicate polio. Experts once considered India the most technically difficult place to end polio. As recently as 2009, India was home to nearly half the world’s polio cases. High population density, migrant populations and poor sanitation presented exceptional challenges to eliminating this crippling disease.
With commitment from Rotary, the Indian government, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, other donor governments, and the global community, India launched a comprehensive polio eradication effort and built a robust health infrastructure to eliminate the disease. An army of 2.3 million vaccinators worked to reach 175 million children with the polio vaccine during national immunization days.
Rotary's polio chair in India, Deepak Kapur, shares a little of his experience participating in the immunization effort over many years. He says, "early 2000, I visited a high-risk area during a polio immunization week. A mother refused vaccination by the health worker for her child. I tried to convince the mother that it was important to immunize her infant. She continually refused the polio vaccination for her child. I was stunned to see that a little boy, her older child, crawled in from the back entrance obviously crippled with polio. This lady, despite already having a child afflicted with polio was still hesitant to immunize her other infant. That day I realized how big a challenge it would be for us in India to make parents like her come around to save their children from polio. Along the way, we did it. To feel that no child’s life in India now will be wasted because of being affected by polio is a tremendous feeling of joy and fulfillment.
Click on our link below to see photos of the people and resources that were necessary for India to end polio.Share this gallery through your social networks to encourage others to help make the world polio-free.
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