Korean, Greek Rotarians mark a first in polio eradication
Members of an 18-member multidistrict Korean team administer oral polio vaccine during an NID in Meerut, India. Photo courtesy of Yun Jin Lee/The Rotary Korea
A team of Rotarians from Korea and one from Greece became the first from their respective countries to volunteer during a National Immunization Day (NID), which occurred 1-2 March.
Working with local teams from numerous agencies, the volunteer groups administered drops of oral polio vaccine to children in two regions of Uttar Pradesh during a massive immunization campaign that targeted all children under age five in the country.
In Meerut, the 18-member multidistrict Korean team walked house to house to help ensure that every child was immunized.
Team leaders said that this year's RI theme, Make Dreams Real , was the motivation behind volunteering for the event.
"Taking part in the NID was an extremely rewarding experience for our team. We did something very positive and tangible for the final push to eradicate polio worldwide," says Ju Hwa Jeong, governor of District 3690, who led the Korean volunteers to India. "Our team was pleased to be the first group of Korean Rotarians to take this kind of action, inspired by RI President Dong Kurn Lee, who has inspired not only Korean Rotarians this year but the worldwide membership to eradicate this terrible scourge."
While the Korean volunteers tackled the streets of Meerut, a 22-member team from District 2470 (Greece) worked in Moradabad and its environs, going door to door to administer vaccine to all young children.
Greek team leader Hara Papadaki, of the Rotary Club of Pendeli, said one of the most successful moments of the NID was when the team immunized 56 children all at once in the Moradabad railway station.
She said the NID was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. "I am proud for the contribution of Greek Rotarians to the global effort for making India a polio-free country."
Papadaki added that the trip to India would not have been possible without the support of Mary Delivoria, governor of District 2470, and Yogesh Mohanji Gupta, governor of District 3100 (India).
"Until polio is eradicated worldwide, every child remains at risk," said Katerina Kotsali, a member of the Pendeli club. "Though we are close to reaching our goal, we must continue our efforts until each and every child is protected against the tragic consequences of this disease."
Read about two Interactors from Florida, USA, who took part in the same NID.