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5,000 run for polio eradication in Uttar Pradesh

© UNICEF/2008
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Ms. Mayawati before the flag-off of "Daud-e-Awadh"

Sushmita Malaviya

Lucknow, 24 February 2008:  Over 5,000 citizens ran for polio eradication in a mini-marathon in Lucknow, capital of Uttar Pradesh. The run was organized by organisations outside the programme partners’ network and was flagged off by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Ms. Mayawati.

The race was called “Daud-e-Awadh”, drawing from the historical name of Lucknow which was earlier called Awadh. The theme of the mini-marathon was – spread the message in villages and cities to make Uttar Pradesh and India polio-free. The state this year has 15 polio cases, all of which caused by the Type 3 virus.

The 11-kilometer mini marathon was organised by ETV, a national media house, in collaboration with the Uttar Pradesh Olympic Association, Sports Authority of India, Sports Hostel, Lucknow, Sports College, the Military Central Command, State Bank of India and the Merchant Chamber, Lucknow.

Among those who were present included State Health Minister Ananth Kumar Mishra, chairman of the Uttar Pradesh Development Council Satish Chandra Mishra, State Chief Secretary P.K. Mishra, Director-General Health Dr. L.B. Prasad and Islamic Centre of India general secretary Maulana Khalid Rasheed Firangi Mahali To achieve a totally polio-free state, the Chief Minister Mrs. Mayawati emphasized the need to make people more aware.and representatives of programme partners Rotary International, NPSP-WHO and UNICEF.

Lauding ETV’s initiative, Ms. Mayawati stressed the importance of “rising to the challenge of polio eradication.” Maintaining that stopping polio was a priority for her government, she said that 37 of the 70 districts of the state were already polio-free.  “Poliovirus type 2 has been eradicated and now we have to focus on eradicating poliovirus type 1 and 3,’’ she said.

Health Minister Ananth Kumar Mishra appealed to communities to immunise children repeatedly against polio.

© UNICEF/2008
Runners at the start line before the flag-off of the "Daud-e-Awadh" for polio eradication

ETV’s Lucknow bureau chief Brajesh Mishra said his organization was carrying out this initiative as part of its corporate social responsibility. He assured the Chief Minister that ETV would strive to help the state eradicate polio. ETV is a popular channel in the state with a wide reach.

Arvind Kumar Yadav, a student of Guru Govind Singh Sports College won the marathon (and won Rs. 21,000).  He said, “We have run on behalf of polio-affected children, to try and ensure that no other child is affected by this disease.” He and the other winners added that a polio-free India could be achieved if people in the country united together in this initiative. The media covered the event well and helped in taking the message of polio eradication to the people.

 

 

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