NEW DELHI, India, 24 February : “Vaccination is important for a child for a healthy life,” cricket star Suresh Raina said launching the ‘Nurturing Trees, Nurturing Lives’ campaign with youth and children here today, on the first anniversary of India being removed from the polio endemic list by the World Health Organization.
“The day for the launch of this campaign is most appropriate. On this day last year India was removed from the polio endemic countries’ list by the World Health Organization. Many experts had predicted that India will be the last country to stop polio. But India proved them wrong. This day reminds us of the potential of our dedicated efforts. If we could stop polio, we can surely also prevent other life threatening diseases in children such as measles, hepatitis–B, diphtheria etc.“ UNICEF Representative to India Mr Louis-Georges Arsenault said at the launch of the campaign.
Mr Raina and Mr Arsenault joined the students in planting saplings on the grounds of the Hansraj College in the Delhi University. In the campaign, the sapling is synonymous of a child who needs to be nurtured and protected against deadly diseases, just as the sapling needs to be watered and cared for to grow into a healthy tree.
Leading partners in the campaign – Adani Group was represented by Mr P N Roychowdhary and Times of India group by Ms Neelakshi Sharma. Dr. R. Gopinath, Deputy Conservator, Forest Department, Government of Delhi, Dr C M Khaniju, Officer on Special Duty, Polio, Delhi Government, and Dr V K Kawatara, Principal Hansraj College were among others who addressed the students and also planted saplings with them.
Adani and the Times of India have partnered with ‘India Unite To End Polio Now’, an Aidmatrix Foundation and UNICEF initiative, to roll out ‘Nurturing Trees, Nurturing Lives’ campaign with National Service Scheme (NSS) volunteers and school students. Over 500 educational institutions across the country are expected to participate in the year long campaign. Around 36,000 saplings are to be planted by youth and children who would pledge to spread awareness on Routine Immunization vaccines and polio immunization.
“The youth has the potential to bring about a huge change. Their individual efforts will together make a big impact and help save lives of children,” Raina said.
Mr Arsenault said with the involvement of youth and children, we look at mobilizing parents across the country to ensure vaccination for their children.
Nearly 1.6 million children under the age of 5 years die in India every year. A large number of these deaths can be prevented with these lifesaving vaccines.
With India’s remarkable progress against polio this year, the polio eradication programme priorities have shifted to addressing polio associated risk factors to prevent poliovirus importation, the most important being boosting Routine Immunization coverage.
For more information contact:
Shamila Sharma, Communication Specialist, Polio, UNICEF India,
Tel: +91-98-10410132; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org