Role of Rotary in Polio
(Global Polio Eradication Initiative)
4 April 2009
It is indeed a great pleasure for me to welcome on behalf of India National Polio Plus Committee and Aditya Birla Centre for Community Initiatives and Rural Development, H E the Governor of Maharashtra, H’ble Shri S C Jamir and his gracious lady. Smt. Alemla Jamir . I also welcome Smt. Rajashreeji Birla, Rotary DG Bansi Dhurandar,other invited guests.
Honourable Governor Sir, Ladies and gentleman, I am very grateful for this honour. It is a privilege to be in the company of you all and speak about Rotary’s dream of making the world Polio-free.
Let me start with the global campaign… the Global Polio Eradication Initiative was launched to eradicate polio from the world, at the same time strengthen health infrastructure. Over the years, the initiative has achieved significant progress toward both these goals.
In India alone since the campaign was launched in 1995 the disease incidence has reduced by 99%, with just remaining two endemic regions-U.P and Bihar.
In these two endemic States too the developments seen are staggering. The entire administrative machinery in UP and Bihar has been mobilized to fully support the programme.
The Partnership’s relentless effort and contribution has helped the campaign in restricting the threat of Polio and the possibility of eradication closer.
In fact compared to last year when as on date (March 20) 132 cases of Polio had occurred, in the current year only 19 Polio cases has been recorded. Experts believe India is on track for eliminating both the Polio virus by 2010 if we continue with the current momentum.
Talking about Rotary and our role in making eradication possible, I think the Rotary leadership, took a very tough but wise decision when they decided to end Polio. Not just reduce its occurrence but eliminate the disease from the face of the planet.
True, we have not made Polio history yet as we envisioned, but we are making progress, step by step. The challenge for all of us now is to make good on our commitments.
In the last two-decades, Rotarians have achieved milestones and set benchmarks with eradication of Polio from many parts of the world.
Sir, it is not merely science because of which Polio has been eradicated from so many regions of the world, but much more because Rotarians have put in their heart, their soul and their funds into it and built one of the biggest public health public-private partnership.
Rotary International has contributed more than US $ 650 million (Rs.2925 crores) towards polio eradication and managed to raise funds worldwide.
A total of US $ 355 million was raised through donors like the Gates Foundation and nearly US $ 4 billion from Governments of the world.
Today, these funds are being extensively used in India for the implementation of the campaign.
At present Rotarians are raising US $ 200 million (Rs.1000 crores) to match the Challenge Grant from the Gates Foundation.
While the Polio Partnership is making progress, we will however need more support and commitment to be able to rid our country and the world of Polio.
In this regard I would like to thank the health department of Maharashtra for their support in keeping Polio at length even when the city is perpetually at risk of virus importation following migration of labourers from Polio endemic regions.
It’s a testimonial of their efforts and the Polio Partnership that there were just 2 cases last year and no case of Polio in Maharashtra this year.
Another positive thing about Maharashtra is the strong presence of the Aditya Birla Group and Smt. Rajashree Birla’s continuous support to Rotary’s Polio eradication efforts.
The Aditya Birla Group employees under her supervision during immunization rounds take care of many booths in the city of Mumbai in difficult areas and other parts of the country where they have their establishments. In fact, her contribution of US $ 2.3 million was made during a very crucial stage in the Polio eradication programme.
I would like to inform the house that the Aditya Birla Group at present is also supporting Rotary with their resources in two districts of U.P - Sultanpur and Sonbhadra - to accelerate eradication of Polio.
Today, recognizing the impressive contribution of the Aditya Birla Group and the outstanding leadership exhibited by Smt. Rajashree Birla, I, on behalf of the India National PolioPlus Committee express our deep appreciation and gratefulness.
Ladies and Gentleman, thank you for being here today and witnessing the championing of Polio Eradication drive at the hands of H E the Governor of Maharashtra, H’ble Shri S C Jamir.
I am sure, with the support of Aditya Birla Group and our partners in this programme, we will realize our dream of a Polio-free India and that of the world…Soon!
Thank You and Jai Hind!
|Webiste Developed by Vibrant eTechnologies Pvt Ltd||| MCITP Boot camps||| Redhat training Exams|