Stone Rotarian Phil Leason has made his third visit to India to immunise children with the polio vaccine.
He was a member of a group who were based in Ludhiana, close to the Pakistani border and eight hours north of Delhi, from February 17-23. Ludhiana is also one of the most polluted areas in India.
The key, said Phil, 64 is to ensure the children each receive two drops of the vaccine in their mouths.
“One of the problems is the suspicion between the various religions and they are very reluctant to accept drops from fellow Indians. But they trust people from the UK and other western countries,”
He said his first visit two years ago was to a village that hadn’t previously seen anyone from outside India.
“This was quite an experience, after we had given the little drops the head of the village invited us to his house for refreshments. A table in the courtyard was laid out with food which had flies crawling all over it. Luckily, we didn’t suffer any ill effects.”
Last year he said the immunisation was carried out on the streets.
“We were pulling children in off the streets and giving them drops,”
said Phil, Foundation chair of the Rotary Club of Stone and District and a Rotarian for 25 years.
“The people in India are very grateful that we are going to save their children from polio. In India, polio was only eradicated five years ago and people over there know the horrors of it and are very grateful to Rotary for what it is doing to save their children.
It’s important that we don’t lose momentum if we are going to beat this disease and the large group of Rotarians travelling out this year illustrates that we are still as passionate as ever.
Anyone who wants to make a difference can join their local Rotary club or donate.”
Phil received the MBE in the New Year’s Honours for his services tothe community.
To donate to End Polio Now or to join Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland, visit www.rotarygbi.org or contact your local Rotary club.