Amitabh Bachchan conferred Polio Eradication Champion award
MUMBAI, 19 April, 2012 : UNICEF polio ambassador, Mr Amitabh Bachchan, was today conferred the Polio Eradication Champion award by Rotary International for his invaluable support to the Polio Eradication Programme in India.
“I am deeply honoured. I dedicate this award to our countrymen and assure my continued support to the efforts in making India and the world polio-free”, Mr Bachchan said after receiving the award from past Rotary International Presidents Mr Rajendra K Saboo and Mr Ashok Mahajan at a ceremony here.
“When UNICEF asked me to become a polio ambassador I readily agreed to do that, not for any recognition for myself, but because they described to me the suffering that these young children were going through, I realized that I needed to do what I could. The journey has not been easy, it's been long and stressful,” he said.
Mr Bachchan has been the face of polio mass media campaigns for nearly a decade advising and persuading parents to ensure “do boond zindagi ki” (two drops of polio vaccine) to every child every time.
“Its wonderful today to know that India, for the first time, has been polio-free for more than a year. I feel honoured that I am a part of this. My grateful thanks to Rotary for taking up this cause and for their generosity, he said.
Lauding the tireless work of the frontline workers, Mr Bachchan said, “we have to continue this wonderful work.”
India was removed from WHO’s polio endemic list on 25 February this year after completing over a year without reporting any case of polio. India has not reported any polio since the case in Howrah, West Bengal, on 13 January 2011.
Mrs Rajshree Birla, Chairperson, The Aditya Birla Centre for Community Initiatives and Rural development, UNICEF’s Communication for Development Specialist, Mr Rod Curtis, and WHO-National Polio Surveillance Project, Regional Team Leader, Dr R Banpel, were present at the award function.
The Polio Eradication Champion Award is the highest honour Rotary presents to the heads of state, health agency leaders and others, who have made significant contributions to the global polio eradication effort.
Mr Bachchan now joins the league of Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, Union Health Minister Mr Ghulam Nabi Azad, Bihar Chief Minister Mr Nitish Kumar, Philanthropist Mrs Rajashree Birla, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom David Cameron, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Gates foundation co-chair Bill Gates Sr, who have also been conferred Rotary’s Polio Eradication Champion award.
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