Springfield Rotarian Rae LaMarche joined other Rotary District 5110 Rotarians, Cort Vaughan and his wife, (Rotary Club Greater Bend); Sherry Neuman (Jacksonville Applegate Rotary Club); and Rotarians from California, Washington, and Wisconsin in the 2020 National Immunization Day (NID) in India.

National Immunization Day (NID) India was held January 19, 2020. For more than 32 years, American Rotarians have traveled to India to help with the annual vaccination of children against polio.

In 2015, India was declared polio free, meaning there have been no cases of polio in 9 years. However, vigilant vaccination is required due to continuing cases of the disease in Pakistan and Afghanistan on India’s northern border. The goal of the NID is to vaccinate EVERY child from birth to age 5 on this single day. The following week is spent calling on every home with a child to assure that no one is missed.

The team of nine arrived in Delhi on January 15 and with only one day to rest began on January 16 with meetings with the WHO and UNICEF, partners with Rotary and the Indian government.  From Delhi the team traveled to Jhansi where they participated in the Polio Parade and visited Rotary projects. The following day (Jan 19), this team visited the different NID booths to observe and participate in immunization. On January 20, the team helped with door to door immunization before departing for Khajuraho.

After a visit to the Taj Mahal and Red Fort, the team returned to Delhi and visited additional Rotary projects including St. Stevens Hospital post-polio center, the Rotary Eye Center, and the Rotary Blood Bank.

“We in the US have no idea of the fight that continues across the globe. Until every child in the world has been vaccinated against polio, we are at risk for its return. I am so honored to be a member of both a small team and Rotary, an international organization that continues to work at the elimination of this disease.”