St Albans Rotarians provide vital polio immunisations in Delhi

Judy Makin, left, and Rotary St Albans Priory president Caroline Ellis in India.

Judy Makin, left, and Rotary St Albans Priory president Caroline Ellis in India. - Credit: Photo supplied

There were plenty of grins from children in an Indian city recently when they were visited by St Albans Rotarians as part of an immunisation programme.

Rotary Club of St Albans Priory president Caroline Ellis was joined by her husband Brian and local friend Judy Makin on a trip to Delhi to immunise youngsters under the age of five against polio.

Caroline said: “Taking part in the program was so rewarding. We went to Moradabad in Utter Pradesh and not many tourists travel there, so for a lot of children we were the first western face they had ever seen and they flocked to say hello.

“This made our task so much easier and there were a lot of big grins and requests for photos to be taken.

“We administered the drops to the children and the following day we joined health workers who visited houses to immunise children who had not been able to come to attend the previous day - in one case, twins only two days old.”

Caroline said that Pakistan was still recording cases of the highly infectious viral disease and as it was over the border, authorities in India were still on high alert to make sure no cases broke out in their country, which had been polio-free for three years now.

There are 172 million small children in India - all of whom will be immunised 10 times before the age of five.

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This year marks the 30th anniversary of an enormous undertaking that Rotary took on, to help rid the world of the crippling disease. In 1988 there were 350,000 cases per year and this year so far there have only been 22. Rotary has helped by providing both manpower and raising millions of pounds to fund the programme.