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Tuesday, February 11, 2003

On 9 February, India launched the largest ever mass immunization campaign against polio, targeting 165 million children.

85% of all new cases of polio confirmed last year occurred in India and this vaccination campaign is one of several recent efforts to rid the planet of the disease, a viral infection that can cause paralysis when it attacks nerve cells. The campaign will involve over 1.3 million vaccination teams of volunteers and health workers, equipped with nearly 200 million doses of vaccine, will go house-to-house and work at booths in communities to reach every child under the age of 5 years. To succeed, the teams will have to cover a country the size of Western Europe in 6 days!

At present polio eradication efforts are currently facing a funding gap of US$ 275 million worldwide, and US$ 100 million in India alone.

In a bid to help rid the world of the preventable disease Rotary International aim to raise US$ 80 million by June 2003, but it is clear that even more funds are going to be needed... it is therefore good to know that the The Global Polio Eradication Initiative is being spearheaded by World Health Organisation, Rotary International, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and UNICEF... all organisations with a remarkable history of getting things done + persuading people to work together.