Barry professor Sandra Roberts administers polio vaccine to nearly 1,000 children in India
Mar 21, 2012
Dr. Sandra L. Roberts, assistant professor of Business Administration in Barry’s School of Adult and Continuing Education (ACE), recently returned from Indian where she helped deliver the polio vaccine to nearly 1,000 children. The trip was part of Rotary International’s global effort to end polio worldwide.
Roberts joined Rotary members from nine countries as they traveled to India to immunize children against polio – a crippling disease that still paralyzes and sometimes kills children in parts of the world. The 43-member team visited the country for two weeks and returned Feb. 29.
These volunteers are members of Rotary, a worldwide humanitarian service organization that has polio eradication as its main philanthropic goal. The Rotary members joined other volunteers and health workers to administer drops of oral polio vaccine during an immunization campaign that targets millions of children under the age of 5.
“Until polio is eradicated worldwide, every child remains at risk,” said Roberts, past president of the Miami Shores Rotary Club. “Although polio is 99 percent eliminated, the final 1 percent is the most difficult. We must continue our efforts until all children are protected against the tragic consequences of this disease.”
As part of the trip, Roberts and other volunteers traveled to a location outside the Sariska Wildlife Sanctuary in the State of Rajasthan to construct a check-dam for the local villagers. There they spent four days lifting and placing stones into the dam, mixing cement, and securing the dam. By the end of April this retention dam will be ready for the first of the monsoons, which will help surrounding villages increase their annual crop yield by 50 percent by retaining the considerable amount of rain water that flows away every year.
Tremendous progress has been made overall in India, with more than 95 percent of children regularly reached during vaccination campaigns. This year, India’s polio eradication effort continues to make strides, having reported just one case in all of 2011.
Despite these advances, the polio virus stubbornly persists in certain parts of the country. Contributing factors include a fast-growing, dense population, inadequate sanitation, and suboptimal routine health services. As there is no cure, the best protection is prevention. For as little as 60 cents worth of vaccine, a child can be protected against polio for life.