Thursday, March 01, 2007

Great news for local NID effort

Noelle Galperin of Coral Gables, Florida and I joined a local Rotarian and pulmonary physician for visits to various NID booths in Dehradun.

Our first stop was a local community health center where we were greeted by two physicians – the female director and a male staff physician. This facility is where the oral polio vaccine was distributed from and there was a booth location nearby.

Next, we moved to a slum area to visit a second booth – where I was allowed to administer the vaccine to a baby. We walked through the village and I shared the candy I had brought to encourage the children coming out. So many beautiful faces and smiles and so much filth and poverty all around. The houses were literally straw and mud huts with plastic garbage bag roofs. There is one well for the entire area and this village did have a small rapidly moving creek (polluted green water) running nearby.

We passed a snake charmer and I asked if the snakes really came up out of the basket. Two charmers came out of their huts, opened their wicker baskets containing the Cobra snakes and begin playing on elaborately decorated flutes. Up came the snakes to look around and the villagers all crowded around cheering.

Most of the children had already received the vaccine – we could tell by the ink marking on their little fingers, but we did find one or two here and there and helped administering the drops.
During the following "mop-up" days, we walked with a health care worker door to door and located a day care center where five children had not been immunized. Our fair skin and my blond hair first frightened the kids, but I was able to encourage participation by getting down on the floor and immunized the children.

The next day, we walked to approximately 40 homes and checked almost 75 children. The terrain was mountainous and it was raining. We found NO children who had not been immunized on the 11th. This was great news for the local NID effort.

Martha Reinbold, member of RC of Eagle River, Alaska


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