Every traveler must cross under the gate to get to the state highway that connects the small village of Sambhalheda to the rest of India. Like the ancient castle gates that defended against enemies of the past, this gate keeps out the enemies of India’s health.
This gate, or what locals call the “Polio Eradication Gate”, symbolizes India’s successful defense against its public health enemies. For over 3 years, there have been no signs of polio in the country. This is an incredible accomplishment, especially considering that five years ago, nearly one half of the world’s polio cases were in India.
Partnering with the CORE Group Polio Project, PCI took on the challenging tasks of eradicating polio in India. PCI worked with parents and community leaders to ensure children received vaccinations to prevent polio and other diseases. This program contributed to the eradication of polio in India.
PCI and the CORE Group funded the creation of the “Polio Eradication Gate” to celebrate their successful program. The design and idea of the gate came from the mind of a community leader in Sambhalheda who wanted to display the community’s efforts towards eradicating polio.
To remind viewers of the hard work it took to eradicate polio, the community leader suggested symbols to adorn the gate. At the top of the gate, there is the face of a child receiving a polio vaccine. On either side of the child, there are two blue boxes that represent the carriers used to transport vaccine from village to village.
Six months later, construction was completed on the gate. The village hosted a ribbon cutting-ceremony for the “Polio-Eradication Gate.” The ceremony paid thanks to those involved in the eradication of polio and celebrated this health achievement for India. Community leaders and members, PCI and CORE Group Staff, and representatives from the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF also attended the celebration.
The village of Sambhalheda hopes to construct other gates in the future to mark the eradication of other diseases in India.