New Delhi: Bill Gates met Rotary International India on Thursday in New Delhi on his three day visit to the country where he is expected to meet a number of Government functionaries before heading to Bangalore for a discussion on philanthropy with India's industrial leaders.
Gates met Rotary leaders – Rajendra K Saboo, Past President, Rotary International , Ashok M Mahajan, Trustee & Member, International PolioPlus Committee and Deepak Kapur, Chairman, India National PolioPlus Committee of Rotary International at hotel Oberoi, early morning today where he was presented with a plaque as a token of appreciation for his support to the global Polio eradication programme.
Bill Gates appreciated the Polio efforts in India however cautioned India not to be complacent especially when Pakistan is yet to achieve polio-free status. On the importance of Routine Immunization, Rotary led the discussion for improved coverage to ensure children are healthy to fight other diseases including Polio and their support for the same.
Rotary India appreciates Bill Gates and his foundation for support to the India Polio campaign, offers help to Pakistan
Rotary International India assured of all help to Pakistan in eradicating polio. Rotary International said how Rotary Pakistan and their Rotarian counterparts are leading the efforts and are in constant touch and discussing the fight against Polio and the way India fought and achieved triumph. Dr Rajendra K Saboo, Past President, Rotary International said, "If need be, we will be ready to offer assistance to polio stricken victims of Pakistan offering them polio corrective surgeries in India or in Pakistan through our network."
Rotary attributed the basic reasons for India’s success primarily due to the total ownership of the campaign by GOI together with State Governments and also the introduction of bivalent vaccine.
Gates was apprised of the successful model of Muslim Ulema Committee formed by Rotary in UP under the leadership of Trustee Ashok Mahajan, which led to the minority community leaders playing a crucial role in achieving the polio-free status. Rotary suggested that similar kind of committee could be formed in Pakistan and is being pursued.
Rotary expressed that having India taken off the endemic list is not the end in itself. The goal for 3 consecutive years without a case of virus, thereafter the certification of Polio-free India, followed by the phase-out of OPV too is essential for India to be certified as a Polio free nation.
Rotary International is the spearheading partner of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative –consisting of WHO, UNICEF, CDC and Rotary – that together with the Gates Foundation have been instrumental in bringing out the resolution recently by the World Health Assembly to declare Polio a global public health emergency.
About Rotary International
Rotary’s commitment to end polio represents the largest private-sector support of a global health initiative ever. In 1985, Rotary members worldwide vowed to immunize all the world's children against polio. Since then, Rotary has contributed $850 million to polio eradication.
Rotarians are raising another $200 million to match the Gates Foundation grant of $355 million contributions.
Rotary is an organization of business and professional leaders united worldwide to provide humanitarian service and help to build goodwill and peace in the world. It is comprised of 1.2 million members working in over 32,000 clubs in more than 170 countries. Rotary members initiate community projects that address many of today's most critical issues, such as violence, AIDS, hunger, environment and health care.
The Global Polio Eradication Initiative is spearheaded by the World Health Organization, Rotary International, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and UNICEF.