The Rotarians of RC Katwa, D 3240, have successfully immunised 95 per cent of the children of Katwa in Bardhaman district of West Bengal in the last NID. “It was a huge challenge. We had to break stiff resistance from a section of the people in a slum dwelling,” said the Club President Subrata Sain. The people did not want to cooperate with the Katwa Municipality workers owing to some dispute and did not let the Rotarians set up a polio booth in the area.
In the month preceding the NID, the club members took out a rally involving about 500 children from the local school to campaign for polio immunisation. The colourful rally, interspersed with local cultural shows, was designed to draw the attention of the local community. The Rotarians also included a door-to-door campaign, gifting caps, T-shirts, toys and stationery to the residents, and allayed their fears about the vaccine.
“Finally, on the D-day we had an impressive turnout, all thanks to INPPC Chair Deepak Kapur for assisting us with the material,” says Sain.
Illiteracy stands in the way of the eradication drive, says PDG Swapan Choudhury. “There are still few villages in West Bengal such as Katwa where we have to deal with negative feedback and resistance to immunisation due to irresponsible people taking advantage of the villagers’ illiteracy. We try hard to break the myth in every possible way. We don’t want our future generation to be crippled.”