Global teams join hands to fight polio

Foreign volunteers visit high-risk areas in Capital

Members of Rotary International have set up 8,000 polio booths and roped in 30,000 health workers across the city to immunise 2.5 million children against polio.

A volunteer gives polio drops to a baby during an anti-polio drive on Sunday.

The week-long campaign, starting Monday, features door-to-door verification in all regions. At least 225 million polio vaccines were provided via 7,09,000 vaccination booths set up across the country.

According to a senior official, teams from the UK, France, US and Netherlands visited high-risk polio areas in and around Delhi. Apart from administering vaccines and holding wellness camps, they asked people not to ignore polio vaccination for their children.

“While a majority of booths across India were set up by the government, Rotary also set up some booths at transit points, such as bus stands and railway stations. A 36-member Rotary team from Oakland in the US visited Ghaziabad, while a 45-member team from the UK went to the Capital and Karnal in Haryana),” said the official.

He said the Netherland’s team was sent to Bijnour and Moradabad. “This team raised $10,000 to donate 50 wheelchairs, 40 tricycles and 28 pairs of crutches for polio victims,” the official said.

According to Deepak Kapur, chairperson of Rotary International India’s National PolioPlus Committee, 174 million children have been immunised and 209 million homes were visited during door-to-door campaign.

“The campaign’s extensive efforts towards reaching every child with the vaccine has to be sustained till we achieve total eradication,” said Robert S Scott, chairman of International PolioPlus Committee.

“Keeping this in mind, Rotary’s contribution to the global polio eradication effort constituted nearly 14% of all contributions to the global budget in 2010,” said Scott.

As part of their commitment to social mobilisation in India, the 29th Mega Wellness Camp in association with Abbott Laboratory was held from February 18 to 19 at Arya Samaj Mandir in Kirti Nagar.

“At least 2,000 beneficiaries came and doctors gave them free medicines. Patients also got free testing for cataract, thyroid, bone density and diabetes,” said the official.

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