This is one club we are delighted to be leaving. The list of endemic polio countries in the world is now down to three – Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria, after the WHO removed India from the list for being polio-free for a full year.
Imagine the kind of effort it has taken over the last decade to do this – billions of rupees spent, millions of vaccine drops and hours upon hours of medical volunteers’ time dedicated to vaccinating children. No unique identification number, no real incentive to show up and get vaccinated, very little literacy, no proper roads or infrastructure — and yet, somehow we organized ourselves to get this done. How did this happen? How did a problem of this magnitude get solved, when no one thought it could?
It happened because we went after it with everything we had. Lots of money ($2B from India’s own coffers, 27% of the world’s expenditure on polio eradication), Amitabh Bachchan and the Do Boond Zindagi Ke Campaign (thank you @SrBachchan), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation‘s efforts, and the most important: 270,000 nameless volunteers throughout the country who took the time to vaccinate a child.
If we can come together and get this done, is there anything we can’t do if we put our minds to it?