Rotary illuminates iconic buildings across the country to celebrate three year sans Polio
India in celebration as the nation defeats crippling disease Polio. India completed three consecutive years without a single case of wild Polio virus, today and hence achieving the three-year milestone necessary to achieve Polio-free certification from WHO.
Commemorating the day on January 13, 2014, Rotary International illuminated India's iconic monuments and buildings, all across the nation. In the capital city, the historic India Gate and Red Fort was lit up with ‘Celebrating 3 Years of last Polio case in India' message. Other illumination sites in the country included the Air India in Mumbai, Hyderabad Public School in Hyderabad, Red Fort in Agra, Teeli Wali Masjid in Lucknow, Junagarh Fort in Bikaner, Sojati Gate in Jodhpour and other equally important sites in cities and towns across the country were lit-up with the message ‘Celebrating 3 Years of last Polio case in India'. The three-year milestone was celebrated with much fanfare by countrymen across the country.
The country reported the last polio case in Howrah, West Bengal, on January 13, 2011. Members of Rotary International, one of the spearheading partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), have been working for years to sensitize and motivate people to get their children vaccinated against Polio. Rotary's India National PolioPlus Committee Chair Mr. Deepak Kapur observing the special day said "It is a huge victory for India and its people. From being one of the most Polio infested regions a couple of years ago to completely containing Polio toward becoming Polio-free, the campaign in India has come a long way". He said that the collective effort of Polio partners spearheaded by the Govt. of India, made the difference and "We are hopeful, the partnership will ensure India remains Polio-free forever".
India will be officially certified as a Polio Free nation with the certification by WHO for the entire Southeast Asia region (WHO SEAR) as a Polio free Zone. Rotary leader Mr. Ashok Mahajan the Chief Coordinator of this illumination project for Rotary India said "By lighting these historic landmarks, we want to reinforce Rotary's pledge of a Polio-free India and a Polio-free world. We would continue our battle against Polio till the last wild Polio virus is defeated all across the world".
Globally only 3 countries are still endemic with polio, namely, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria. "There is a constant fear of polio virus importation from neighboring endemic countries. Therefore, we cannot afford to be relaxed till the time Polio is eradicated globally and will have to continue our efforts of protecting our children against Polio, till the world is certified Polio-free", observed Mr. Raja Saboo, Past President (global) of Rotary International.