One PhRMA Employee's India Experience at a Polio Immunization Camp

One PhRMA Employee's India Experience at a Polio Immunization Camp

11.16.12 | By Amiee Adasczik

I was honored to represent PhRMA at Rotary International's PolioPlus National Immunization Day (NID) in India last week. All around Moradabad, yellow banners hung advertising November 4 as immunization day, volunteers donned yellow "polio free now" vests, and pink booths with the slogan "2 drops for life" populated the city. Volunteer Rotarians and government workers mobilized with the goal of vaccinating 450,000 children in the area that day to continue the effort to make India polio free.

In January, India reported no new cases of disease in 12 months. Rotarians have been at the forefront of this battle and are the spearheading member of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, which includes other partners such as the WHO, UNICEF, and CDC. The Government of India has also been a critical leader in the initiative in India.

On the last of 3 NIDs for the year, the dedication and organization of the volunteers to make their community a healthier place was remarkable. The polio vaccine is easily administered in two quick drops through the mouth. Older children recognize the banners and help to bring others to the booths. Realizing that the value of the small drops isn't enough to draw some, Rotarians began including health camps alongside the immunization booths to screen for common diseases. Volunteers also spied between busses and entered newly arriving train cars to look for small children who should be vaccinated. Moradabad has a number of transportation locations that are especially critical to stopping the spread of disease, as polio is still endemic in neighboring countries. Even still, it's not enough to expect all children to come to the booths for their drops. In the following days, volunteers will go home to home to ensure children have been vaccinated.

PhRMA is proud to contribute by supporting Rotary and the thousands of volunteers and healthcare workers in India who have made the success possible.

On Sunday, I traveled to the immunization booths in Moradabad to say thank you to the volunteers and give them a small token of gratitude from Rotary and PhRMA.

What makes the Polio Eradication Initiative exceptional is that it brings all health stakeholders together: government, philanthropists, physicians, and other health care providers. Nevertheless, I now know it's the smiles of the children they help that keep volunteers motivated and help them to remain optimistic about global polio eradication.

Learn more about efforts to eradicate polio at: http://www.endpolio.org or http://www.rotarypolioplusindia.org

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