Mrs. Rajashree Birla – “Championing Polio Eradication Drive”,

Mrs. Rajashree Birla – “Championing Polio Eradication Drive”,

Mumbai – In collaboration with the Government of India’s Health Department, across the country, the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai and Rotary International, the Aditya Birla Group has been supporting the polio eradication drive.  A special programme “Championing the Polio Eradication Drive” at Mumbai’s Raj Bhavan, was held today.   The Honourable Governor of Maharashtra, Shri Sankaranarayan and Mrs. Rajashree Birla, Chairperson, Aditya Birla Centre for Community Initiatives and Rural Development flagged off the drive, administering polio drops to children.

Speaking on the occasion Mrs. Birla said – “For over two years now, we in India, have not reported a single polio case. It’s a very happy situation.   Imagine the world, at one time, looked upon India, as the epicenter of polio.  To give you the context, before the polio eradication drive was launched, some 15 years ago, 2,00,000 children would be crippled every year! It has been a long and arduous journey.  But we have managed it and there is therefore much to cheer.

Collectively the Government machinery Rotary International and the Aditya Birla Group work to ensure that every single child is immunized. Every year more than 170 million children are given the pulse polio drops”.

Said Mrs. Birla, “We, at the Aditya Birla Group, have and continue to work with single-minded focus, in supporting Rotary International and the Government in the polio eradication drive.  Our various establishments are actively involved, and our teams ensure that every child takes the pulse polio drops.  Likewise, we set up booths in Mumbai, including several at railway stations and also undertook door-to-door campaign. In the last 3 years only, our teams have helped administer polio drops to over 18 million children through thousands of booths all over the country.

Two years and not a single new case of polio, is a message of great hope.  But let me add a word of caution.  Polio still exists in Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan.  The virus can still travel to India as people move from one country to another.  We have to be very cautious and pro-active to ensure that the virus is not allowed to re-enter our country”.

Mrs. Birla added a word of caution averring that “there is no room for complacency.  In India, we have to continue the momentum.  In fact, the World Health Organization has advised India to maintain sensitive surveillance and ensure high childhood immunity against the wild polio virus.  This is vital to ensure that no strain of polio is imported to our country, until eradication is attained worldwide.

Another polio-free year and we hope the W H O will declare our country as ‘Polio-free’”.