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Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Rotary International District 3190 honors Padma Bhushan Smt. Rajashree Birla, Chairperson, Aditya Birla Centre for Community Initiative and Rural Development, in Bengaluru, for her philanthropic contributions over the years towards eradication of Polio in India.

Rotary International ( is a global team of 1.2 million neighbors, friends, and community leaders who have, over the years, come together to create positive, lasting change in our communities and around the world. What remains most interesting is their diverse occupations, cultures, countries, states and lifestyles that give a unique perspective to provide humanitarian services, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and to advance goodwill and peace around the world.

“Rotary has been working to eradicate polio for over 30 years now, and our goal of ridding the earth of this disease is in sight. We started in 1979 with vaccinations for 6 million children in the Philippines. Today, Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan are the only countries where polio remains endemic. However, polio virus does not need a visa to cross international borders and therefore, complacency for India at any point with regards to polio is very dangerous. Our 35,000 clubs around the world, carry out sustainable humanitarian service projects to stay alert, monitor the situation at all times and act when and where required”, said Rtn. H. R. Ananth, District Governor, Rotary International District 3190.

Every year more than 170 million children are given the pulse polio drops. Rotary International District 3190 strongly believes that they share a great responsibility to act on world’s most persistent issues like Polio, and members of Rotary continue to re-dedicate themselves to permanently end polio ( Polio continues to be Rotary’s most important project year after year.

“We are very pleased to honor Smt. Rajashree Birla with the important “Serving Humanity” award, who at the Aditya Birla Group has deeply contributed and worked with a single-minded focus in supporting Rotary International in the polio eradication drive. The Aditya Birla Group’s various establishments are actively involved, and their teams ensure that every child gets the pulse polio drops. Together with Rotary, they have set up booths in Mumbai and other parts of India, including several at railway stations and undertook door-to-door campaigns. In the last three years alone, their teams along with Rotary as a partner, have helped administer polio drops to over 18 million children through thousands of booths all over the country”, added, Rotary International District 3190 Governor, Rtn. H. R. Ananth.

“Polio incidence has dropped more than 99.9% percent since the launch of global polio eradication efforts in 1988. As per the global polio surveillance data, 5 wild poliovirus cases were reported in Pakistan and 1 wild poliovirus case was reported in Afghanistan in 2016. In 2015, 74 cases of wild poliovirus were reported: 54 from Pakistan and 20 from Afghanistan. More than one million Rotary members have donated their time and personal resources to end polio. Every year, hundreds of Rotary members work side-by-side with health workers to vaccinate children in polio-affected countries’, added Rtn. Ashok Mahajan, Past Rotary International Director.

Dr. Yaron Wolman, Chief of Health, UNICEF India, in a message has said, “While no polio cases have been detected in India for more than three years, poliovirus transmission is ongoing in the endemic countries – Afghanistan and Pakistan. It is therefore imperative that we make this final push toward eradication one of our highest priorities. If we fail to get over the finish line, we will need to continue expensive control measures for the indefinite future. More importantly, without eradication, a resurgence of polio could paralyze more than 200,000 children worldwide every year within a decade. Now is the time, we must not fail.”

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