Rotary signs MoU with GoI for fight against measles, rubella

An MoU has been signed between the Ministry of Health and Family ­Welfare and the India National PolioPlus ­Committee (INPPC) for ­Rotarians’ ­involvement and ­participation in the GoI’s routine ­immunisation project, including ­Mission Indradhanush (MI), ­Intensified ­Mission Indradhanush and Elimination of Measles and Rubella on Dec 6. The MoU was signed in the office of Health and Family Welfare ­Minister J P Nadda by Joint Health Secretary ­Vandana ­Gurnani and PDG Deepak Kapur, ­Chairman INPPC, on behalf of Rotary.

Health Minister Nadda thanked Past RI President Rajendra K Saboo, who was ­present at the MoU signing, and Rotary, for the ­support and commitment ­provided by the Rotary fraternity in India over the past four decades in helping the country get rid of the scourge of polio. As also, their ­support in many other social causes and ­initiatives. Additional Health Secretary Manoj Jhalani was also present during the signing of the MoU.

INPPC Chair Deepak Kapur and Joint Health Secretary Vandana Gurnani exchange the MoU in the presence of the Health and Family Welfare Minister J P Nadda (centre) and Additional Health Secretary Manoj Jhalani (left). PRIP Rajendra K Saboo is also present.
INPPC Chair Deepak Kapur and Joint Health Secretary Vandana Gurnani exchange the MoU in the presence of the Health and Family Welfare Minister J P Nadda (centre) and Additional Health Secretary Manoj Jhalani (left). PRIP Rajendra K Saboo is also present.

The Minister was certain that Rotary would once again rise to the occasion and use the ­inherent strength of its member volunteers to assist the Government in addressing the ­challenges posed by measles, rubella and other diseases against which vaccines are ­available. The ambitious goal is to achieve a 90 per cent immunisation target by 2020.

This MoU has fructified after several meetings senior Rotary leaders in India held to consider strategies for the elimination of ­Measles and Rubella (MR) in the country. In the meetings, RI Director C Basker, PRIP Saboo, PRIP Kalyan Banerjee, TRF Trustee Sushil Gupta and Dr Jacob John had discussed partnering with the ­government in its target of ­eliminating MR by 2020. They felt that now India was ­polio-free, it was time to focus on the “Plus” component of ­“PolioPlus” and ­participate in ­vaccination programmes to prevent measles, rubella and other diseases, while ­continuing polio immunisation to ensure India remains polio-free.

Earlier, when PRIP Kalyan Banerjee was ­Trustee Chair of The Rotary Foundation, in consultation with PRIP Saboo, Dr Jacob John and PDG Kapur, he had got the support of TRF ­Trustees and RI ­PolioPlus Committee Chair Mike McGovern for Rotary’s participation in MI in India.

Health and Family Welfare Minister J P Nadda and PRIP Rajendra K Saboo.
Health and Family Welfare Minister J P Nadda and PRIP Rajendra K Saboo.

Said Kapur, “This is the beginning of a new challenge. We ­Rotarians of India will have to recharge our spirit and re-energise ourselves for the action ahead… just as we had done during the polio eradication ­campaign. Our goal is now to keep India ­polio-free and ­eradicate Measles/Rubella in partnership with the government.”

PRIP Saboo said the challenge now will be getting a similar level of involvement and ­enthusiasm Rotarians had during the polio ­eradication phase. Because “an important aspect of this partnership is that it is an extension of our commitment to keep India polio-free.”

But of course ­Rotary’s involvement this time would have to be more focussed on the two areas of rubella and ­measles. But I am ­encouraged in the ­expectation that we can do it thanks to the support from RI Director C Basker.”

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