The Emergency Preparedness Plan is what Rotary is working out with the government to be ready to combat in the eventuality of a polio outbreak. Our areas are more at risk with more migrations, and the need is to identify the migrants, sensitise them, and immunise the children travelling with them.
Yesterday, the Punjab PolioPlus Task Force, comprising of 24 senior Rotarians with Rotary International Director Yash Pal Das as Advisor, and PDG Shubh Karn Gupta as Chairman-Convenor along with Dr. Dinesh Singh from WHO and Dr. Balwinder Singh, State Immunisation Officer, Punjab, met at Chandigarh Judicial Academy to thrash out the immediate plans.
Past Rotary International President Rajendra K. Saboo who had all along been a great votary and driver of polio movement in the world, said that Rotarians, perhaps, feel that we are done with polio and "we're almost there". "Almost", he emphasised, "is the most dangerous terminology that is leading us to complacency, and almost does not mean the completion of the task at hand". He urged the Rotary leaders to engage Rotarians more and more in the task of keeping the pressure on, on the society, on the state agencies, on various other stock holders, so that any child carrying the virus gets detected at the early stages and reported.
Rtn. Yash Das said that for the intensified eradication activities planned until 2012, there is a global deficit of Rs.2992 crores, and hence continued financial support by Rotarians is a must.
He also pointed out that there is poor response to NIDs and approximately 60 percent of the children get covered despite massive efforts and in the next two days 40 percent uncovered children are reached out through door-to-door campaigns, which should be tackled by Rotarians.
The Task Force identified certain key areas in which Rotarians must intensify their efforts and involve themselves throughout the year, including :
- Developing and managing communication plan and ensuring better visibility through multi-pronged campaign
- Help in the Emergency Preparedness Plan and conducting mock drills to manage an eventuality
- Recognise doctors/revenue districts reporting maximum cases of AFP
- Organising media sensitization workshop
- Identifyication and reaching out to migratory population
Every Club, every Rotarian must come forward to make a difference and ensure that no child is left out.