India's first polio National Immunization Day (NID), held on March 16, 1995, was a massive undertaking. The goal was to vaccinate all children under the age of five against polio, and to do so in a way that was safe, effective, and efficient.
The logistics of the campaign were complex. In order to reach every child, vaccinators had to go door-to-door in every village and town across the country. This required a massive mobilization of resources, including:
A large number of vaccinators: Over 2 million vaccinators were trained and deployed for the campaign.
A supply of oral polio vaccine: Over 1 billion doses of oral polio vaccine were produced for the campaign.
A system for tracking vaccination coverage: A system was put in place to track which children had been vaccinated and which had not. In Rotary, this is affectionally known as "the purple pinkie."
The campaign was a success. Over 172 million children were vaccinated in a single day, and the number of polio cases in India dropped dramatically. By 2014, India was declared polio-free.
The logistics of India's first polio national immunization day were a major challenge, but they were overcome through a combination of planning, coordination, and commitment. The success of the campaign is a testament to the power of vaccination to save lives.
The campaign was coordinated by the Government of India, with support from Rotary International, the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, and other partners.
The success of India's first polio NID was a major milestone in the fight against polio. The campaign showed that it was possible to vaccinate a large number of children against polio in a short period of time. This success paved the way for the global polio eradication initiative, which has made significant progress in recent years.
Rotary has been working to eradicate polio for more than 35 years. Our goal of ridding the world of this disease is closer than ever.
As a founding partner of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, we've reduced polio cases by 99.9 percent since our first project to vaccinate children in the Philippines in 1979.
Rotary members have contributed more than $2.1 billion and countless volunteer hours to protect nearly 3 billion children in 122 countries from this paralyzing disease. Rotary’s advocacy efforts have played a role in decisions by governments to contribute more than $10 billion to the effort.