Follow Up Day
Although every attempt is made to ensure that all 172 million eligible children are vaccinated in one day, there are inevitably some who manage to escape. The purpose of "follow up” is to check that children have been vaccinated i.e. to look for the magic purple mark on their little finger. Last year we took part in follow up in the countryside and there every house was visited and the results of the visit chalked on to the door. If the house failed because the children were not present, then it would be revisited every day that week until the children were found and ticked off (or vaccinated and then ticked off).
Delhi seems to carry out follow up a different way. We were dispatched to an area of north west Delhi and dropped off at a large Health Centre
where we were attached to two health workers.
With them we walked down an ordinary street and then dived
down a side alleyway.
into a maze of passages
where people carried on their normal lives and jobs,
and lived in rooms at ground floor level,
first floor level
and even higher.
Sanitary facilities were completely lacking and of course this is why the possible return of Polio is such a threat
The Health Workers had a large ledger which contained details of all children known to live in this maze and when they had been vaccinated. This was duly marked off with the details of the children we found.
It was a slow a painstaking job.
Any child found who had not been vaccinated was brought out
and then marked.
Again, we were warmly welcomed by everyone we met.
Having done the checking (we found around 30 taking our total for this campaign to 650)
we then regrouped at the local health centre which was very different to the one we had started out at in order
to count up totals and ensure that everyones figures agreed.
This health centre also seemed to act as a food centre for those in desperate need of something for themselves and their families. Here, beans and a sago like food are being quietly given to a mother who appeared with her three children.
St Stephen’s Hospital
St Stephen’s Hospital in Delhi specialises in Polio rehabilitation surgery
and all of the costs of this surgery are paid for by Rotary Foundation. Anyone who has had Polio and now suffers from a polio related joint problem can be operated on free of charge. They are also
allowed to bring one relative with them whilst they are in hospital
and this relative is accommodated and fed free of charge. The hospital estimated that an operation cost between £200 and £2000 but the average cost was now rising because the medical issues they saw were getting more serious - they have dealt with all of the simple ones.
The effectiveness of this process is demonstrated by the picture above. This 19 year old girl had never walked. She was showing us how she puts on her post operation leg strengthening calliper. Her mother said to us “she will be taking her first ever step next week, once she can walk she will be able to get married”.
Fellow Rotarians - this is why we should all contribute to Rotary Foundation.
We were delighted to have been able to take part in this year’s campaign and are determined to come back again next year. Although India has now been declared Polio Free,
because Polio is sill prevalent in two bordering countries (Afghanistan and Pakistan), they will be carrying on the vaccination programme for the foreseeable future.