Just to let you know that we have had a very successful NID, the Polio National Immunisation Day in India on Sunday 24th March.
We were at a very small village on the edge of the town of Badaun which is a poor community East of Delhi. It was a 6 hour coach trip to get there and I am amazed that we survived the traffic and potholes. The roads were busy with ox carts, ponies and traps, pedestrians, buses and motorbikes all vying for space on the road. The communities are very poor, largely subsistence farmers, with so much going on all the time.
We soon realised that our role here was less about helping with immunisation and more about publicity to increase awareness of the End Polio Now campaign. The local communities have a very organised system for regular immunisation of all children under 5 years old, but an additional 500 children were immunised on Sunday due to our presence in the village. We were able to immunise children and paint the “purple pinkie”!
At the end of the day we had to go through all the formalities Indian style. We were “important dignitaries” and our individual opinions on the day were required at a series of meetings with other important people and the press. We were honoured by the local community and were required to honour the various community health workers responsible for the programme, by garlanding and presenting them with small gifts. Next day our photos were in all the papers and lots of newsprint but as it was all in Hindi we struggled to understand what was going on both at the meetings and in the papers.
We were very well looked after by the Rotary Club of Bareilly and were made welcome by the local community who very much appreciate the work Rotary is doing the help them eradicate polio.
We feel privileged to have been part of this event and to have been welcome by the people of India.
4th March 2013
This is the official write up of the event UK Rtns Visit Report from India Mar 13 produced by Shyamiji Sharma from Bareilly Rotary Club who is also Program Coordinator for Rotary International’s India National PolioPlus Committee.