Article by Moorthy Karuna
After my family reunion in Malaysia, I flew to New Delhi India and participated in the 2013 Rotary National Immunisation Day in Chandigarh. PDG Cynde Covington, District 6970 USA was the team leader, who organised a great itinerary for the 10 days and also looked after the welfare of all participants.
She was assisted by Ajay Thakur, Live India Tours and Rotarian A.P. Singh, Rotary Club of Chandigarh.
Out of the 28 participants, there was a couple from New Zealand, a lady from France, myself from Australia and the rest of the participants were from USA, including 81 year old PDG William Crawford and 27 year old Rotaractor Ann Marie.
I had fun, thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience and am very grateful to Cynde Covington for giving me this opportunity, because it has given me a very meaningful insight and a bigger picture of what Rotary is capable of achieving in the world.
Chandigarh is a beautiful place and most probably the cleanest city in India. The city does not use any plastic bags. President Vivek Gupta, Chandigarh Rotary Club mentioned that it is a smoke free city. I had a great home stay with President Vivek Gupta and his wife Promil, who also hosted Christopher and Tanya Kaminski from USA. They were very good hosts, served excellent Indian food and showed us the Rock Garden, Sukhna Lake, Secretariat and a famous Hindu Temple.
Rotary Club of Chandigarh’s members and volunteers
On Sunday 24 February 2013, Christopher and Tanya Kaminski and I administrated polio drops in a booth. On Monday 25 February 2013, 5 of us did the mob up through a slum area. The idea of mob ups is to give polio drops to children who did not receive polio drops from the booths. A.P. Singh accompanied us on the mob up and answered all our queries. Both the booths and mob ups had Indian staff from World Health Organisation. We only assisted.
End Polio Now is by far Rotary’s biggest project. I stayed an additional 4 days in New Delhi and used the Metro (Train) to go around. Using the Metro made me realise the high population and density. There are 75,000 children born in India every day. Addressing at Royal Institution Hall of the United Kingdom on 29 January 2013, Microsoft founder Bill Gates hailed India’s polio campaign success as “among the most impressive global health successes that has ever been”.
The Rotarians in India should be congratulated because in the last 2 years, there wasn’t any new polio case. With the help of Rotarians from India who have the knowledge and experience, Rotary should be able to eradicate polio from the 3 countries (Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria) remaining where the virus is endemic.
Delivering this year’s Richard Dimbleby Lecture, Bill Gates said the world could see polio eradicated in the next 6 years. It will be great if the Rotary Clubs are able to contribute more to this worthy cause that will definitely make a positive impact in the world. Rotarians should be very proud and if possible make personal contributions towards Rotary’s biggest initiative.