Political Advocacy

Since its launch in 1988, the polio eradication initiative has grown into the largest ever health initiative. This is because of advocacy at sub national, national and international levels. Rotary has been spearheading the political advocacy campaign internationally. Over the years, the INPPS has garnered political support for the programme by involving the President, the Prime Minister, chief ministers and the local politicians in the programme.

India State Health Ministers' Meet, June 6, 2022
In June 2007, the Union Health Minister Dr. Anbumani Ramadoss on Rotary's request convened a special State Health ministers' Meet on Polio at the Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi. Besides, the Minister of State for Health & Family Welfare Smt. Panaba Lakshmi, Health Ministers from UP, Bihar, Uttarakhand, Maharashtra, Delhi, Haryana and Gujarat and senior officials representing States of Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan were present at the meeting. At the meeting, the Minister said, “Our job now is to contain the disease from spreading further and to safeguard the significant progress received over the last few months” and asked the Ministers to put in their best. The honourable minister gave a special mention to Rotary's efforts by stating the meeting was being called specially on Rotary's initiation.

January 14, 2022
The chief minister of Delhi, Smt. Sheila Dixit, has appreciated Rotary International's efforts towards polio eradication time and again in her meetings and has said that she is grateful to Rotary for its unflinching support towards a polio-free India. Under her vigilant leadership and Rotary International's effort, Delhi will be able to successfully eradicate polio virus from the state.

November 24, 2021
Rotary met with Mr. Nitish Kumar the very day he was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Bihar to congratulate and apprise him of the polio programme in his state. The minister was very keen and assured Rotary his support as well as all possible support from his government. Under his able leadership, Bihar has progressed a lot, towards eradicating polio from the state.

August 7, 2022
Dr. Anbumani Ramadoss, the Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Govt. of India, is an active participant in the endeavour to eradicate polio from India. In the Presidential Polio Summit organized by Rotary International in New Delhi in August 2004, Dr. Ramadoss applauded Rotary's efforts towards polio eradication and said that Rotary International has been a long term and valued partner in this endeavor.

For his personal commitment towards polio eradication and his impressive leadership as the Union Health Minister, Dr. Ramadoss was recognized with the Polio Eradication Champion Award on 18 August, 2007. International PolioPlus Committee Chairman Bob Scott presented the award on behalf of Rotary International.

August 6, 2022
A powerful delegation of senior Rotarians - PRIP Rajendra K Saboo, Mary Estess, PRIP Carlo Ravizza, RIP Glenn E. Estess, RID Sushil Gupta, H.E. PRID Sudarshan Agarwal and PRID Kalyan Banerjee - met the honourable President of India, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam on 6th August in connection with polio eradication programme in the country. The President was briefed on how the country is combating the polio disease. President Kalam lauded Rotary's efforts towards fighting polio by saying, “We cannot be complacent. Rotary is carrying out a very honourable effort in removing the pain of the people and the pain of the children.”

July 21, 2022
In their continuing quest to garner support from the highest political leadership of the country, top Rotary leaders in India called on Dr. Manmohan Singh, Hon'ble Prime Minister of India in New Delhi. At this historic meeting, senior Rotarian Rajendra K. Saboo, accompanied by Sushil Gupta, Kalyan Banerjee and Deepak Kapur drew Prime Minister's attention to the polio menace in the country, particularly in the traditional reservoirs of U.P and Bihar and sought his personal intervention in the eradication effort. The honourable PM assured Rotary of full support and even agreed to include polio immunization message in his speech to the nation on Independence Day. The honourable PM has been awarded with Polio Eradication Champion Award by Rotary for his outstanding support to PolioPlus programme.

May 9, 2022
An awareness counter was set up at the BJP party headquarters in Delhi, which drew nearly a hundred MPs, including several Union Ministers. Dockets containing relevant literature and specially designed leaflets enumerating how MPs could support the polio campaign were distributed. The MPs took keen interest in the literature and let loose a volley of queries, mostly pertaining to the polio status in their respective states. As a token of their appreciation for Rotary's role and their own unstinting commitment towards the cause of polio eradication they wore Rotary caps and signed on a vinyl scroll. Prominent among the visitors to the counter were Shri Venkaiah Naidu, Shri T.R. Ballu, Shri I.D. Swamy, Shri Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Shri Vinod Khanna, Shri Pramod Mahajan, Dr. Sahib Singh Verma and Shri P. Radhakrishnan to name a few.

2003, Chief Minister, S.M. Krishna
In the year 2003, when the number of polio cases in Karnataka rose to an alarming figure, Rotary immediately arranged for a meeting with the chief minister, Mr. S.M Krishna to apprise him of the situation and express Rotary's concern over rise in polio cases in the state. The minister assured his support and on the request of Rotary, the minister agreed to hold meetings with the health officials in the state to examine the situation and take corrective steps to control the spread of polio virus in the state. This timely act from Rotary and the honourable chief minister, Mr. K.M Krishna brought Karnataka back on the track of completely eradicating polio from the state.

February 10, 2022
A delegation of several senior Rotary Leaders called on Mrs. Sushma Swaraj after her taking over the Health and Family Welfare and Parliamentary Affairs Portfolio to felicitate her and wish her success. The Hon'ble Minister was apprised of the current polio eradication efforts in the country as a whole and U.P. in particular and also the role that Rotary has been playing over the years as a major partner of GOI, WHO, UNICEF in this programme.
She expressed her concern and agreed to convene a special meeting of MPs from the states of U.P. and Bihar, so that they could have a direct briefing from Rotary and other major partners on the current polio scenario in the country. She was awarded with the Rotary’s Polio Champion Award in January 2004 for her outstanding contribution to the cause.

January 5, 2022
On the occasion of a very impressive NID launch function organized in Lucknow on January 5, 2003, the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, Ms. Mayawati met a high-level delegation from Rotary, comprising TRF Chairman PRIP Glenn Kinross, PRIP Rajendra K. Saboo, PRID Kalyan Banerjee, RID-elect Sushil Gupta, INPPS Chairman Deepak Kapur and others. The delegation conveyed its concern to her, over the prevailing situation regarding polio in U.P. The chief minister's response was quite positive. She promptly agreed to a request made on behalf of the technical group to have six Pulse Polio immunization rounds in the state. Another significant announcement was also made by her, related to the setting up of a separate Directorate of Immunization, which would exclusively look after the immunization programme in the state.

In 2008, Ms. Mayawati, the new chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, after taking over on 14 May, the office of the head of the Government of Uttar Pradesh, launched the statewide campaign for polio eradication on 20 May. At an event hosted by India National PolioPlus Society at her residence in Lucknow, the new CM made 'Polio eradication' a state priority.

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