Every time we have been to India to vaccinate, the process starts with a briefing and this year is no different. There are over 100 Rotarians from all over the world at this briefing, many of whom are old friends and some of whom who will become new friends.
As at February 2015, the world position on the elimination of Polio is looking promising but it is still a threat, particularly to India. As at February 20th 2015 (the day of this briefing so the data cannot be any more up-to-
date that this) there have been 7 cases worldwide all in Pakistan as against 18 on the same date last year world wide. Of course it is far too early to get excited about the reduction.
India is planning on five vaccination days this year (2015). Two when the whole country is vaccinated and three when only high risk areas are vaccinated. The plan is similar for 2016. The big risk at the moment is that
of Polio coming across one India's borders and hence vaccination posts have been set up at every border crossing and the rule if you are coming from one of the border risk countries is that you will be vaccinated when you get to the border. If you refuse to be vaccinated, you cannot enter India.
The logistics of a National Immunisation Day are astonishing. When we first thought of taking part in a NID we saw what they claimed to happen and thought that it was impossible. Having seen it in action however we know that it does happen.
When Polio is finally eliminated, many people will claim the credit for it. Since the start of the Polio Eradication Programme, Rotary has contributed $1.3 Billion and helped raise a further $6.7 billion from donor Governments. It will probably be forgotten that it was initially Rotary’s idea and Rotary will probably not try to claim any credit.
Having received an update, we are then briefed or re-briefed about the technique for immunisation, agree our dinner arrangements for the evening (we are taking over the Kwality Restaurant in Delhi for a meal) and revisit our travelling arrangements for the following day. The group I am leading to Moradabad get the welcome news that they will be leaving the hotel at 0615 as against 0530 - I know that very minute extra we can get in bed now is well worth it.