On February 23rd, 2013, the world’s first Polio Chowk was unveiled in Moradabad, India. Moradabad District outside Delhi has been called the epicenter of polio globally and this Polio Chowk will serve as a visual reminder of the progress in the fight against polio in Moradabad and around the world.
PCI has been working as part of the Core Group Polio Project (CGPP) since 2002 in Moradabad, immunizing children, engaging communities, advocating with key leaders, raising awareness, improving surveillance and, most importantly, working steadily to overcome resistance to participation on the part of Muslim families, leaders and communities. PCI’s multidimensional approach to social mobilization, under the technical umbrella of the CGPP and in collaboration with UNICEF, WHO, Rotary and other government and non-governmental groups, has resulted in tremendous achievements.
The most tremendous achievement is that there were no reported cases of polio in the Moradabad District in 2012. To celebrate this milestone, the polio partners wished to construct a Polio Chowk. “Chowk” means “square” in the local language, and local officials unveiled a monument on this donated square to commemorate the successful fight against polio. The monument is comprised of a large mother/child sculpture surrounded by the slogan “2 drops of life” sitting on a base describing the history of the polio effort in India, an acknowledgement of partners, and other key messages.
The immunization program in India is one of the largest in the world in terms of quantity of vaccine used, number of beneficiaries, geographical spread and diversity of areas covered. PCI’s work will continue to ensure no new polio cases up to 2014 and beyond in order to achieve the official designation of “eradication.”