Three members from Rotary’s Kettering Huxloe Club have visited India as part of the group’s End Polio Now campaign.
Paul Hirst, Andrew Carnell and Mark Deutsch, together with Paul’s wife Diane, Gerry Lewendon and Gwen Hurst have packed a lifetime of experiences into the nine-day visit.
Paul has written about his trip below:
“On arrival in Delhi we met other Rotarians and underwent preparation for our task of assisting the polio immunisation programme with health workers in the state of Uttar Pradesh. At 7.30am next morning we started out on the seven-hour coach journey to Badaun where we met the district medical officer and the other polio partners to formulate our plans.
“We split up into teams and travelled to a number of small villages which are in the high risk area for polio. Polio booths had been set up in the village schools and it was our task to help the local health workers in the three-stage immunisation process.
“First we needed to give two drops of polio vaccine to all of the children under the age of five years, marking their little finger with a purple semi-permanent marker, giving the child a small gift, a balloon, pencil or whistle; a small luxury that these children had never seen before.
“We then walked through the villages again looking for children who had not been to the booths, checking the children’s little fingers for that tell-tale purple mark!
“The next day was a ‘mop up’ day when every house in the village was visited, all the children presented to us and little fingers checked again to ensure no-one had been missed.
“The actual house door was then marked to indicate if another visit was required or if everyone has been immunised. While there we shared many experiences and cups of chai masala spiced tea with the villagers and attended many village gatherings to give gifts to the polio partners and health workers who perform this task week in week out.
“A wonderfully rewarding experience.”