Polio Free Certification to the South East Asia Region of WHO accorded
3 May 2014
Mumbai: The Aditya Birla Group, in collaboration with the Government of Maharashtra and Rotary International, today celebrated the ‘Polio Free Certification to the South East Asia Region of WHO’ at Raj Bhavan (Mumbai), with the Governor of Maharashtra, Mr. K. Sankaranarayan as the Chief Guest.
The Governor paid accolades to the Government of India, Ministry of Health, the Government of Maharashtra, the Mumbai Municipal Corporation and Rotary International and to Mrs. Rajashree Birla and the Aditya Birla Group for playing a singular role in this remarkable triumph over polio.
One of the most ardent polio eradication champions, Mrs. Rajashree Birla said, “For us in India to have become a ‘polio free’ country, and to have come this far, the Government of India, the Government of Maharashtra, the Mumbai Municipal Corporation, WHO, Rotary International, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and others have played a singular role. We owe this remarkable triumph over polio to them. We, in the Aditya Birla Group, worked very closely with them.”
Mrs. Birla added that at the Aditya Birla Group’s 50 plants and in Mumbai, their CSR teams ensure that all children from the time of their birth until the age of five are vaccinated. Over the last five years, the Aditya Birla Group has helped vaccinate nearly 22 million children, managing 73,693 booths. Furthermore, the Group’s teams operate at railway stations and other critical points to make sure that children are immunised. Paying accolades to the Government of India and the Government of Maharashtra, Mrs. Birla mentioned, “The number of children immunised during the ‘National Immunization Day’ is an incredible 170 million.”
Mrs. Birla also added a note of caution, “Polio still exists in Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan. Regrettably, new cases of polio are getting reported from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and Khyber Pakthunkhwa in Pakistan – and this area is considered as the engine for polio transmission in the country.
In Afghanistan and Nigeria, the situation is looking better but even a single case is already one too many. Syria, Cameroon, Ethiopia and Kenya suffered outbreaks of polio cases in 2013, after being free of polio in 2012. So the resurfacing of polio is an area of concern. Hence, there is no room for complacency. In India, we have to continue the momentum. We have to maintain, sensitive surveillance and as WHO has advised us, we must ensure high childhood immunity, against the polio virus. This is vital to ensure that no strain of polio is imported to our country until polio eradication is attained worldwide.”
Speaking on the occasion, Rotarian Mr. Ashok Mahajan observed the end of polio as a great achievement, and stated, “An achievement that has brought 11 countries in the South East Asia Region (SEAR) to be certified polio free — Bangladesh, Bhutan, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor-Leste and India. SEAR is home to approximately 1.8 billion people, which in other words also mean that about 80 per cent of the world is now polio free — a remarkable achievement in the campaign to end polio globally.”
Earlier, Mr. A. K. Agarwala, Director (Aditya Birla Group Companies) in his welcome address said: "The end of polio in India is amongst our greatest achievements. With this, all the 11 countries in the South East Asia Region are now certified to be polio free.”
Dr. Pragnya RamGroup Executive President, Corporate Communications & CSRAditya Birla Management Corporation Private LimitedAditya Birla Centre, 1st Floor, 'C' WingS.K. Ahire Marg, WorliMumbai 400 030.
91-22-6652 5000 /2499 5000
Fax: 91-22-6652 5741/ 42